Massachusetts erased more than 21,500 tainted convictions in 2017 and is poised to erase another 8,000.Tom Jackman, “Massachusetts Prosecutors to Throw out 8,000 Convictions in Second Drug Lab Scandal,” Washington Post, December 28, 2017.
The first series of convictions were some of the more than 24,000 convictions that depended on evidence produced in the Boston crime lab by chemist Annie Dookhan, who admitted in 2012 that she had been falsifying drug testing results for eight years.Tom Jackman, “When a State’s Drug Chemist Lies for Years, Should All Her Cases Be Thrown Out?” Washington Post, September 29, 2016. The second series is of cases analyzed in Amherst, Massachusetts by chemist Sonja Farak, who revealed in 2014 that she had not only been falsifying drug tests but consuming the evidence, including crack cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamine, ketamine, ecstasy, and LSD.Tom Jackman, “Mass. Crime Chemist Admits Daily Drug Use in Lab, Sparking a Second Scandal,” Washington Post, May 5, 2016. Prosecutors have indicated that they are seeking to preserve convictions in about 1.5 percent of Farak’s cases, but both sides agree that mass dismissal is more efficient for the government and the incarcerated people involved than a lengthy series of individual retrials.Jackman, “Massachusetts Prosecutors to Throw out 8,000 Convictions” (2017).