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Prosecutorial misconduct found in Massachusetts

Prosecutorial misconduct found in Massachusetts

The scandals marring Massachusetts’ state drug labs — and its criminal justice system — have taken a new turn. Former state chemists Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan have both received their legal comeuppances for their misconduct. And at least one wrongfully convicted person, Leonardo Johnson, has been awarded $2 million as a result of being victimized by Dookhan’s lies. But last week, following months of hearings and as predicted, state prosecutors were held to account for their actions in a blistering court ruling.

Hampden County Superior Court Judge Richard J. Carey steadied his focus, and ire, on the State Attorney General’s Office. As reported in the Boston Herald, Judge Carey “ruled that two assistant AG’s engaged in ‘intentional, repeated, prolonged and deceptive withholding of evidence from defendants, the court and local prosecutors … (conduct that was) egregious and harmful to the administration of justice.’”

Judge Carey found that the two prosecutors “tampered with the fair administration of justice” by failing to produce — and by deliberately concealing — documents that the Commonwealth was required to turn over to defendants on trial. They also made material misrepresentations to another judge, conduct that Judge Carey deemed “a fraud upon the court.” In addition to his findings of prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Carey dismissed the convictions of seven defendants and allowed another to withdraw his guilty plea.

“The ramifications from their misconduct are nothing short of systemic,” Carey wrote in his lengthy order, and were “in many ways more damning.”