Evidence

Mass. Inmates Get Bond at Special Court Call, Boston Mayor Seeks $15M Over Crime Lab Test Issues


Two weeks of special court sessions began Monday in Boston to deal with inmates serving time in state cases based on drug evidence provided by an alleged rogue chemist at a state crime lab—and one individual after another was released on bond while new appeals of their convictions are pending.

Similar special sessions are being held in courts throughout the state, the Associated Press reports, and chemist Annie Dookhan, who has been accused of faking results, mixing samples and forging signatures, is facing an obstruction of justice case.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Boston is seeking $15 million from the state to cover the cost of dealing with the evidentiary debacle, Reuters reports.

In a letter Monday to the state’s administration and finance secretary, Mayor Thomas Menino said a preliminary estimate shows the city’s “crisis re-entry needs” exceed $15 million and requested a commitment from the commonwealth to cover the funding. The city’s expected costs include police, emergency shelter and mental health services required to deal with the expected sudden release of some 600 people now being held in state institutions, according to the letter.

Dookhan reportedly tested more than 60,000 drug samples concerning some 34,000 defendants during nine years working Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston. She has pleaded not guilty.

“I think a lot of these cases are in trouble, and cases will be dismissed,” attorney James Greenberg said after the hearing.

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy had set bail at $1,000 for his 26-year-old client, who has been serving three years after a cocaine-distribution conviction. She also required him to be monitored by GPS and set a curfew during which he must be at home, the AP recounts.

Unless additional charges can be sustained, based on other evidence, “We know she’s manipulated drugs, so anything she’s touched is tainted,” he said of Dookhan.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Chemist’s Credibility Questioned, Doubt Cast Over Thousands of Criminal Cases”

ABAJournal.com: “Chief US District Judge Says Mass. Crime Lab Problems Impact at Least 100 to 200 Federal Cases”

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