Convicted and imprisoned defendants may soon be released in the State of Massachusetts because of the suspected mishandling of evidence by a chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab. The chemist has been criminally charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly skirting protocols and faking test results at the now-closed state drug lab. At least two dozen defendants have already been released as a result of the impugned chemist’s actions, one was a convicted rapist.
As some folks may remember, the Washington State toxicology lab had a similar issue in 2008, which resulted in the head of the toxicology lab (Barry Logan) stepping down. It was a move that at the time prosecutors and defense lawyers said would help bring back lost confidence in the way criminal cases (most specifically DUI related cases) were handled in and around Washington state. Logan’s resignation was effective March 14, 2008, and came after a series of problems that casted wide spread doubt about the accuracy, validity and reliability of breath tests for suspected drunken drivers in Washington State. The decision stunned attorneys and judges who had worked with Logan on criminal cases and saddened his staff. At the time, however, the lab had drawn stinging criticism about errors and ethical problems in the lab. Unlike the Massachusetts’s chemist, Logan was not criminally charged for his deplorable actions.
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