As if it wasn’t bad enough that Annie Dookhan allegedly faked evidence, the motivations and attitudes underlying her actions are even scarier. The thirty-five year old former state chemist, once described as a “Superwoman” of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was indicted on 27 charges relating to fabrication of drug evidence. Among other things, the allegations suggest Dookhan, whose job it was to test drug evidence for ongoing criminal cases, would mark “positive” samples she failed to test, and even mix samples to ensure that previously drug-free evidence would subsequently test positive. [Read more…]
As soon as Question 3 became law January 1 (and likely before), towns opposed to the medical marijuana law were busy scheming on how they could stop the move of medical pot into their town. Several banned dispensaries outright. But this week those towns got the bad news from Attorney General Martha Coakley—that an all-out ban on dispensaries is not permissible. [Read more…]
A recent news story from Sturbridge highlights the seriousness with which lawmakers treat DUI charges involving children. A 24-year-old man from Southbridge is facing child endangerment charges after police arrested him with an open container of Four Loko with a 4-year-old boy inside of his vehicle at about 10:30 p.m. Another adult was reportedly in the vehicle but has not been charged with a crime.
Large snowstorms like this past weekend’s blizzard keep people off the roads, and therefore there usually aren’t many drunk driving arrests. Except of course, drunk plow drivers. [Read more…]
Former Massachusetts crime lab chemist Annie Dookhan entered a plea of not guilty last week in response to charges that she tampered with drug evidence and faked test results. Her case has been in the headlines for several months as the state comes to grips with just how far-reaching her mistakes could be. One man, who had cocaine distribution charges against him dropped in light of Dookhan’s mess, is now the first to file a lawsuit against her, though not likely the last. [Read more…]
The Massachusetts criminal justice system continues to take a beating. With the continuing scandal still brewing over Annie Dookhan, another state lab worker is arrested – Sonja Farak, a chemist in the Amherst crime lab. She allegedly replaced evidence that tested positive as heroin and cocaine with counterfeit substances while taking the actual drugs for personal use. [Read more…]
Civil rights activists and the ACLU have mobilized in Massachusetts, sharply criticizing prosecutors for allegedly misusing prosecutorial discretion in pushing felony drug charges on casual pot smokers. Despite the fact that voters in Massachusetts decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana by over 65 percent in 2008, some smokers are still facing jail time. [Read more…]
By Mikaela Slaney, Drugpossessionlaws.com staff reporter
In reaction to claims the state’s acquittal rating when defendants waive their right to a jury is higher than the average, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) is now imposing recommendations on the court system that may negatively impact defense attorneys practicing in Worcester County and statewide.
The SJC referred to a year-long study of the court system conducted by special counsel Jack Cinquegrana that found that juries acquit drunk driving defendants 58 percent of the time while judges acquit 86 percent of the time, according to the Boston Globe. [Read more…]
Former assistant district attorney George Papachristos was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in relation to the drug-lab case of chemist Annie Dookhan, according to Wicked Local Weymouth. Papachristos may have been engaged In a “yearlong telephone and e-mail” exchange with the embroiled lab chemist, but his behavior was not criminal. [Read more…]
With over 3,000 court-appointed lawyers in the state, the Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys (MACAA) is working hard to give them a voice and advocate on behalf of their needs. [Read more…]