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Notice Campaign Seeks To Reach Thousands Of Wrongfully Convicted Drug Lab Defendants

Don Treeger (The Republican) photo pool

An unprecedented effort began in Massachusetts this week to notify tens of thousands of people that they were wrongly convicted as a result of two drug lab scandals.

In addition to postcards, ads will run on radio, news websites, and social media in a campaign aimed at reaching the more than 47,000 people who had their criminal convictions vacated because of misconduct by former drug lab chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak.

Matt Segal, legal director for the ACLU of Massachusetts said most of the people affected have already served their sentences, but continue to face collateral consequences.

"With a record it is harder to get a job, an apartment, a student loan -- almost anything you could want or need to rebuild your life," said Segal.

The state’s highest court in a 2018 ruling ordered the state Attorney General’s office to pay for the notice campaign.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.