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Drug testing scandal leads to massive conviction dismissal

Among the things that can call into question whether a given criminal conviction was appropriate is the discovery of problems with the drug testing of evidence in the case. One of the things that could compromise the accuracy of the results of such testing is intentional misconduct by the lab workers performing such testing.

Recently, in another state, thousands of criminal convictions were dismissed in connection to a drug testing scandal.

The scandal involved a woman who worked in a state lab in Massachusetts. In 2013, the woman admitted to having faked test results in drug testing of evidence in criminal cases.

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did a mass dismissal of a collection of drug convictions that were tied to the work of this crime lab worker. Over 21,000 convictions were dismissed. The American Civil Liberties Union says this is the largest mass throwing-out of criminal convictions on record.

As this illustrates, the actions of the individuals who conduct drug-related testing for the police and the prosecution can have very big impacts in drug crime cases. This is true in drug cases throughout the country, including here in Wisconsin.

Now, crime lab test results in drug offense cases could not only be rendered inaccurate by intentional wrongful conduct like that discussed above. It could also come through mistakes by crime lab workers or malfunctions with testing equipment. So, a discovery of lab worker misconduct is not the only type of discovery related to crime lab testing that could raise the possibility of a person found guilty of a drug crime being able to challenge their conviction.

Skilled wrongful conviction lawyers can help individuals who were convicted in Wisconsin drug crime cases in which the accuracy of the evidence presented by the prosecution in their case, such as crime lab testing evidence, has since come under question understand what options they may have regarding challenging their conviction.

Source: WGCU, “Massachusetts Throws Out More Than 21,000 Convictions In Drug Testing Scandal,” April 21, 2017

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