Thousands of drug cases tainted by disgraced former Massachusetts state chemist Annie Dookhan are expected to be marked for dismissal today after more than four years of litigation and a high court decision that forced the hands of prosecutors across the commonwealth, the Boston Herald reports. Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union expect that 20,000 cases will be set for dismissal today by prosecutors. The ACLU, the state public defender’s office and private attorneys have urged mass dismissal for years. “It’s great for the people who were convicted by this evidence because they can finally get out from underneath the crippling collateral consequences of a drug conviction,” said the ACLU’s Matthew Segal. “Hopefully this will help those people get housing and jobs and get on with their lives.”
The state’s Supreme Judicial Court in January gave prosecutors until today to list all of the convictions they want to dismiss. For the rest, district attorneys are required to certify in a letter that they can and will produce evidence — not handled by Dookhan — that could secure a guilty verdict if they are forced to go to trial again. “I look forward to seeing what looks like a major step by the (district attorneys) as a result of the … decision,” said Anthony Benedetti of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.