The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will allow the American Civil Liberties Union to present arguments that all of the 24,400 tainted drug lab cases involving disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan should be dismissed, the Boston Herald reports. ACLU attorney Adriana Lafaille said the court rejected the ACLU’s attempt at a “comprehensive solution” last year, but relented to hearing an argument this November after learning of the volume of cases yet to be processed. “To handle this many cases on a case-by-case basis would completely cripple the justice system in Massachusetts,” she said.
The ACLU hired a data scientist to mine the records for information about Dookhan’s cases and found 62 percent were for possession, while 37 percent were for the more severe crime of possession with intent to distribute. State Sen. Bruce Tarr said dismissing the cases is not in the interest of justice or public safety. “It’s a one-size-fits-all solution, but I don’t think its a comprehensive solution,” Tarr said. “Clearly, people deserve to have their day in court. To have a blanket dismissal would have a negative effect on public safety and a negative effect on the justice system. The question is what price do you put on justice?” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley, who shouldered the burden of Dookhan cases, is also crying foul, saying drug cases are built on more than lab results. “If the evidence supports a conviction, the case should not be thrown out,” said spokesman Jake Wark.