BOSTON (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts is asking the state's highest court to get involved in a state drug lab scandal that threatens to derail thousands of criminal cases.
The ACLU is asking the Supreme Judicial Court to find that all defendants whose cases were handled by former state chemist Annie Dookhan have a presumptive right to have their sentences put on hold while motions for new trials are pending.
Dookhan is accused of faking test results and tampering with evidence.
BOSTON (AP) — Thirteen employees of a now-closed Massachusetts drug lab are receiving full salaries and benefits even though they have been unable to work as an investigation into the actions of one of their fellow chemists continues.
The investigation which shuttered the lab has focused on chemist Annie Dookhan. Investigators accuse Dookhan of fabricating drug test results and tampering with evidence while testing samples.
BOSTON (AP) — Republican lawmakers are calling for creation of a new state board to oversee forensic services facilities after a former chemist was accused of tampering with drug evidence at a state lab.
The proposal announced on Wednesday by the four GOP members of the state Senate would create a five-member oversight panel consisting of the secretary of public safety, the attorney general, the state inspector general, the head of the state police and one gubernatorial appointee.
WOBURN, Mass. (AP) — A former Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a state drug lab has pleaded not guilty to three counts of obstruction of justice at the first of two scheduled arraignments.
Neither Annie Dookhan nor her lawyer commented after her appearance Wednesday in Middlesex Superior Court.
She is scheduled to be arraigned on two more counts of the same charge later Wednesday in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham.
Republicans in the state Legislature in Massachusetts are calling for the departure of JudyAnn Bigby, the state's health and human services secretary.
In a letter sent on Thursday to Gov. Deval Patrick, House Republicans cited "poor management" in the aftermath of two recent crises: The alleged tampering with drug tests at a former Department of Public Health lab, and a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to a Framingham compounding pharmacy that was regulated by the state.
Nearly 200 people have been released from prison and their cases put on hold as a result of a Massachusetts state drug testing lab scandal.
Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan told lawmakers at a public hearing Wednesday that while investigators are looking at about 34,000 cases overall, 195 individuals have been released, 79 in Boston.
Heffernan said their release doesn't mean they have been exonerated.