Public safety put at risk
Once more, shoddy state employees damage the criminal justice system and society at large.
The Supreme Judicial Court ordered thousands of drug convictions that hinged on drug tests at a state lab to be dismissed due to misconduct by one of the lab’s chemists and two former assistant attorneys general.
The ruling affects all convictions that were based on evidence tested at the Amherst lab from Jan. 1, 2009, to Jan. 18, 2013, when former state chemist Sonja Farak was arrested, in addition to all methamphetamine convictions based on drugs that were tested during her nine-year tenure there.
Justice Frank M. Gaziano, writing for the unanimous court, said that Farak tampered with drug evidence to satisfy her addiction, and two former assistant attorneys general failed to reveal what they learned about her.
Because of criminality and gross malfeasance, more bad actors will be dumped back onto the streets — at least 8,000. The drug lab scandal involving chemist Annie Dookhan resulted in 20,000 dropped convictions.
We need strong oversight, thorough vetting and harsher sentencing for people like Farak and Dookhan. Farak was sentenced to just 18 months in jail. The state needs to get better on this, now.