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‘Stunning’ Drug Lab Scandal Could Overturn 23,000 Convictions

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posted on Mar, 29 2017 @ 11:55 PM
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Interesting story here. The number of convictions based upon what is supposed to be factual evidence is astounding.

"It's absolutely stunning. I have never seen anything like it," said Suzanne Bell, a professor at West Virginia University who serves on the National Commission of Forensic Science. "It's unbelievable to me that it could have even happened. And then when you look at the scope of the number of cases that may be dismissed or vacated, there are no words for it."


Keep in mind that doesn't necessarily mean that they will all walk free.

The dismissals will come in the form of filings from seven district attorneys ordered by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to decide who among 24,000 people with questionable convictions they can realistically try to re-prosecute.


The person responsible has long been dismissed but the consequences of their actions still are ongoing.

It has taken five years to get to this point, longer than it took to discover, prosecute and punish the chemist, Annie Dookhan. She worked at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston for nearly a decade before her misconduct was exposed in 2012. She admitted to tampering with evidence, forging test results and lying about it. She served three years in prison and was released last year.


A brief tidbit in the article led me to make this thread:

The prosecutors didn't want the scandal to end like this. They fought for a way to preserve the convictions, and leave it to the defendants to challenge them.


This goes against the constitution. They were tried and convicted under false pretenses, and admittedly. It is, or should not be, up to them to prove their innocence if they are no longer guilty.

www.nbcnews.com...




posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:03 AM
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I wonder if this happens more often then we think.
Just that in this case the lab got caught.

God the war on drugs just needs to end.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:10 AM
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a reply to: SolAquarius

She did a mere 3 years for her crimes. How many years has her crimes cost those wrongfully imprisoned?



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:10 AM
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originally posted by: SolAquarius
I wonder if this happens more often then we think.


Um, did you think the FBI lab was aboveboard and beyond reproach?

If so, then yep, it happens more often than you think.

I don't trust most LEO forensic labs, tbh.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:30 AM
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originally posted by: SolAquarius
I wonder if this happens more often then we think.
Just that in this case the lab got caught.

God the war on drugs just needs to end.


"Sonja Farak told investigators she smoked crack every day at work. She also took methamphetamine, amphetamine, ketamine, ecstasy and '___', both at work and at home. And it was all free, and often extremely high quality, because Farak was a chemist at the Massachusetts crime lab in Amherst responsible for testing drugs for police departments in criminal cases across the state."

www.google.com... econd-scandal/

"Joyce Gilchrist was a former forensic chemist who had participated in over 3,000 criminal cases in 21 years while working for the Oklahoma City police department, and who was accused of falsifying evidence."

en.m.wikipedia.org...

"Frederick Salem Zain was a forensic laboratory technician in West Virginia and Bexar County, Texas who falsified DNA profiling results to obtain convictions."

en.m.wikipedia.org...

Matthew Lowry. "How an FBI agent who arrested drug addicts became one himself."

www.google.com... 492-1438-11e5-9518-f9e0a8959f32_story.html



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:39 AM
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a reply to: JinMI

Laboratory, even DNA testing is not beyond doubt.

Just because of the human element if for no other reason.

In the future if youre on a jury and the defense is claiming that the lab results are wrong or that the State is lying, they might just be telling the truth.


a reply to: SolAquarius

From the article:


Lab scandals have undermined thousands of convictions in eight states in the past decade, according to data maintained by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


edit on 30-3-2017 by gladtobehere because: typo



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:42 AM
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a reply to: gladtobehere

I agree however, given what I imagine is almost indefensible evidence to the guild of these people, there needs to be a process to challenge.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 05:43 AM
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a reply to: JinMI

These forensic people should have nonscheduled, randomized drug test of their own done by another facility almost weekly to ensure the level of trust they are receiving by default.

They are basically having their word taken as gold, more so than police officers'.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 05:59 AM
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How can this women live with herself knowing she put a lot of innocent people behind bars and ruined their lives! I have to agree with Thoren, 3 years is way too short for ruining so many lives! These lab technicians should be on video to make sure they're following correct procedures when testing for evidence. Any despicable lab technician can easily falsify the results.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 10:04 AM
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A just result of this would be for her to serve time no less than the longest person convicted using her evidence while simultaneously releasing everyone convicted via 'fruit from the poisoned tree'.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:10 PM
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a reply to: SolAquarius

There was something like this a year or so ago too, regarding the instant, roadside tests the police use to verify narcotics. I beleive it was somewhere on the east coast.

If you really want to see damage done by the war on drugs I suggest reading "Bad Trip" by Joel Miller.
Heres an intro for anyone interested...
books.google.com...

Its a PHENOMENAL piece of liturature!
edit on 30/3/2017 by Brian4real because: Added link



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 12:14 PM
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These kind of scandals have over and over. Even the vaunted FBI crime lab got caught in the 1990s doing the same. And they say the technical evidence doesn't lie. Ha!



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 04:22 PM
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In the mean time people are being convicted of DUI because of breathalyzers that the manufacturer won't warrant for their intended use.



posted on Mar, 30 2017 @ 04:32 PM
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a reply to: JinMI

Annie should do life in prison. And the people that coerced or paid her to tamper with evidence. And all the people who profited knowingly in the process should go to jail, at least until they can post a too-high bail.



posted on Mar, 31 2017 @ 02:03 AM
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originally posted by: WeRpeons
How can this women live with herself knowing she put a lot of innocent people behind bars and ruined their lives!


If you look at the literature, a lot of "bad cops" are frustrated Paladins. They feel as if the system were letting "the bad guys" go. So, they eventually develop this "put the bad guy in prison even if I have to break the law to do it" mentality. The big flaw there is, they don't always know who the bad guy is. But as time goes on, they also pick up this "...and everyone except fellow LEOs are 'bad guys'" mentality, and together, you just fake labs, testi-lie, drop-see and become the judge/jury/executioner on the spot and so on until you ARE the bad cop.

What needs to happen with cop-oriented forensic labs is that, like any other reputable lab, you never, ever, ever let the lab personnel interact in any way with the LEOs. The evidence should be randomized by a third-party blinding service. And false samples need to be inserted at random. The lab techs need to understand that the stuff they're seeing might be from anywhere, for any reason, and that maybe 10-20% of it is fabricated test samples that are there as control data.

And if Lady Shooty McHangem starts returning too high a score on her test samples, she starts getting nothing BUT test samples, then she's fired and can't work at another forensics lab, ever.



posted on Mar, 31 2017 @ 06:22 AM
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a reply to: Bedlam

Sounds like a good idea. These labs need some kind of system in place to keep these lab technicians honest and keep cops from influencing the test results.




posted on Mar, 31 2017 @ 06:45 AM
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originally posted by: Thoren
a reply to: SolAquarius

She did a mere 3 years for her crimes. How many years has her crimes cost those wrongfully imprisoned?



I think they need to give her the sum total of years served by all of Her victims which would only be fair. I know She can't realistically serve 50,000+ years but it would sure send a message.







 
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