San Francisco prosecutors may be forced to drop 1,400 cases in the growing scandal at the police drug lab, including hundreds in which defendants have been placed in drug treatment programs, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The list of cases that could be dropped as soon as this week encompasses 1,000 awaiting trial and 400 in which defendants are in drug rehabilitation . The 1,400 cases come on top of 500 already, including 46 on Friday when prosecutors told judges they could not “ethically go forward” with the prosecutions.
Prosecutors believe they can salvage 300 cases, making the final number of doomed cases 1,600. Police Chief George Gascón ordered the drug lab shut down on March 9 after learning of allegations that now-retired, 29-year veteran technician Deborah Madden had stolen and used cocaine held as evidence at the lab late last year. Assistant Chief Jeff Godown said there was a 17-pill shortage in a much larger sample that included Oxycontin, but that the matter is still being investigated.