6,000 drug cases linked to "rogue chemist" at Mass. crime lab to be dismissed

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Boy C
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Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:22 pm

BOSTON — Massachusetts prosecutors said Thursday that they will dismiss more than 6,000 convictions tied to a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

The move comes months after the American Civil Liberties Union and the state's public defender agency asked the state's highest court to throw out all of the cases tainted by Sonja Farak, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing drugs from a state crime lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and tampering with evidence.

"Dismissal vindicates the rights of our clients to due process and fair prosecution and restores the integrity to the justice system by sending a clear message to prosecutors that no conviction will be allowed to stand in the face of such fraud," said Randy Gioia of the Center for Public Counsel Services.

It is the second time in less than a year that the state's prosecutors have been forced to throw out thousands of cases due to misconduct by drug lab chemists. More than 20,000 convictions were tossed in April after another chemist, Annie Dookhan, was caught tampering with evidence and falsifying tests.

The total number of Farak's cases that will be dismissed could grow as several other prosecutors haven't yet provided numbers to the Supreme Judicial Court. Most of them are low-level drug cases and officials say they're not aware of anyone who's still behind bars as a result of a tainted conviction. But convictions can impact a person's ability to get housing, loans and other things.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/6000-drug- ... dismissed/
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Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:28 pm

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Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:37 pm

'Medical Marijuana Is Safe in Arizona,' ACLU Declares as Bill Montgomery's Crusade Finally Ends
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/acl ... it-9957371
Maricopa County Bill Montgomery was one of the most vocal opponents of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act in 2010, and fought hard to kill it after voters made it the law of the land.

This week, his years-long crusade to overturn the law ended with a whimper.

Montgomery once considered taking the case of White Mountain Health Center v. Maricopa County to the U.S. Supreme Court, if need be. But he let the chance slip by, missing the December 11 deadline to seek review by the nation's High Court.

"From the beginning, Maricopa County Attorney William Montgomery was clear about his intentions with this case — he wanted to shut down medical marijuana in Arizona and throughout the country," said Emma Andersson, the lead attorney on the case for the American Civil Liberties Union's Criminal Law Reform Project from her office in New York City. "He failed ... Today, finally, medical marijuana is safe in Arizona."
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