Mass. SJC to hear arguments to dismiss thousands of drug cases

Chemist Annie Dookhan served a three-year sentence for tampering with evidence and falsifying drug test results. (File photo)
Chemist Annie Dookhan served a three-year sentence for tampering with evidence and falsifying drug test results. (File photo)

BOSTON (AP) — The highest court in Massachusetts is set to hear a request for a remedy in a drug lab scandal involving thousands of criminal cases that first became public in 2012.

Public defenders and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts are asking the court to dismiss about 24,000 criminal cases in which former state chemist Annie Dookhan played a role in testing drugs.

Prosecutors are strongly opposed to dismissing thousands of drug cases outright without reviewing them first.

Dookhan has already completed a three-year prison sentence for tampering with evidence and falsifying drug tests in criminal cases. But many of the defendants whose drug samples she handled still haven’t gotten their day in court to challenge their convictions.

The Supreme Judicial Court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday.