Monday, August 17, 2015 by Demo Super Admin
A recent court ruling in Massachusetts provides one of the best arguments we have for reforming the nation’s draconian drug laws, which have abused a number of Americans in countless ways for so many years.
As reported by MintPress News, a number of prisoners — perhaps thousands — could be impacted by a state Supreme Judicial Court decision that noted that scores of drug samples were “mishandled” by law enforcement authorities in a manner that produced “forged” results that led to jail sentences.
In a unanimous ruling, justices found that in cases where convictions were obtained based on evidence tainted by chemist Annie Dookhan, new trials can be sought without added charges or more severe sentences being added as a deterrent.
“Local WCVB news in Boston explained that Dookhan had tampered with test results, along with repeatedly forging documents and wantonly testifying falsely in criminal cases. All of this went on for more than 14 years, while she worked for the state crime lab,” MintPress News reported. Here is the local news video about the matter:
The legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Matthew Segal, hailed the decision, stating that “it clears a path for people to challenge – when I say people, I say thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people – to challenge their convictions without fear that prosecutors will respond by seeking to revive harsher charges or harsher sentences that were relinquished in a plea bargain.”
In 2013, Dookhan pleaded guilty to 27 counts of forging evidence, perjury, obstruction of justice and tampering. She was sentenced to three to five years in prison, with an additional two years of probation. By then, many lives had already been destroyed.
MintPress News further reported:
Prosecutors argued successfully that during her nine years working at a drug lab in Boston, Dookhan failed to properly test samples but declared them positive anyway. She also mixed up samples and forged signatures as well as repeatedly lying about her credentials.
So far, over 300 have been released from prison as a result of these revelations.
As The New York Times further reported, some 300 “Dookhand defendants” have already been freed from prison after their sentences were overturned because of phony evidence and other tampering. Segal noted that by the end of 2014, fewer than 1,200 defendants had filed for post-conviction relief, a figure he said was likely low out of fear that they could face previously dropped charges or longer sentences if their original ones were not overturned.
“This dynamic was causing the entire effort to get justice, due process, causing that effort to come to a screeching halt,” Segal told the Times. “People were not filing new motions. People were afraid.”
The fabrication of evidence and the falsification of resultant testimony in criminal drug and other cases is certainly not limited to local police. In fact, as NaturalNews editor Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, has reported, even the FBI has resorted to such tactics.
“The FBI engaged in a massive science-based conspiracy to alter and distort forensic evidence for over two decades, the agency has now publicly admitted,” he wrote in an April column.
In what he called “a rare moment of truth-telling,” Adams cited a Washington Post story that stated that the Justice Department and the FBI itself formally acknowledged “that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants” during a 20-odd-year period prior to the year 2000.
Adams further described the wide scope of the scandal:
Astonishingly, 93% of the forensic scientists in the FBI’s hair analysis unit “overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far,” reports WashPost. To pull this off, they used “scientific jargon” to bamboozle juries, making their evidence sound convincing even though it was entirely invalid. As usual, this science-based fabrication of false evidence was offered by egotistical, self-assured FBI scientists who sounded convincing even though they were misleading the court with false testimony.
Just like Monsanto and Merck, Adams noted, the FBI has now fabricated evidence that resulted in innocent people being killed; a number of those sentenced due to false FBI testimony received death sentences that were carried out.
In the Massachusetts case, even the fabrication of evidence and resultant false imprisonment of those found “guilty” was not enough to dissuade zealous prosecutors from seeking to reinstate charges that had been plea-bargained. In a court filing in 2014, prosecutors argued that defendants routinely faced original charges after repudiating a plea bargain. “In fact, such revival is consistent with the longstanding practices in Massachusetts,” the filing said.
Justice Francis X. Spina refuted that, stating that the restoration of defendants’ original charges would be unfair because their decisions to withdraw guilty pleas “must be viewed as an inevitable result of the disclosure of Dookhan’s misconduct.”
“That being the case, the Commonwealth cannot simply re-prosecute the petitioners as if the plea agreements had never existed, thereby giving the commonwealth a second bite at the proverbial apple in its efforts to convict the petitioners,” Spina wrote.