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Over 21,000 Drug Convictions To Be Vacated By Massachusetts Supreme Court

On April 19, 2017, The Innocence Project reports:

“This morning, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court announced that it will vacate 21,587 drug conviction cases. This is the largest dismissal of wrongful convictions in U.S. history. The decision was made in response to a massive drug-testing scandal involving Annie Dookhan—a former chemist for the Hinton State laboratory in Massachusetts—who, in 2013, was convicted of tampering with and fabricating drug tests in criminal cases.

During her more than eight-year tenure at the lab, Dookhan handled approximately 40,000 cases. She admitted to tampering with at least two dozen cases and also fabricating test results, prompting widespread concern amongst many in the defense community that any of the tens of thousands of drug tests used as evidence in approximately 20,000 conviction cases were potentially inaccurate or falsified.”

Annie Dookhan

The Massachusetts judiciary system does not have capacity to hear and rule on appeals to each individual case that Dookhan handled.  The Massachusetts Supreme Court therefore, ordered prosecutors to dismiss the cases in bulk.

According to Aljazeera, an investigation in 2013 found that Dookhan falsified test results as far back as 2004. Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted “dry labbing,” or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs. Dookhan was sentenced to three years in prison and was paroled last year. Read the rest of this entry

Two State Troopers Charged After Beating Fleeing Suspect

Before 18-year old Paul O’Neal was chased by Chicago police officers and killed by a gunshot in the back, there was another car chase on the East Coast.

It happened on May 11, 2016.  The car chase lasted for about an hour and stretched from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. At times it exceeded 100 mph. The driver was 50-year old Richard Simone of Worchester, MA.  He had warrants for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, larceny, and failure to stop for officers. The failure to stop for officers charge was because 3 days before May 11, 2016, Richard Simone led the police on another chase and rammed his truck into an officer’s vehicle.

On May 11, 2016, Simone’s truck struck a police vehicle during the chase, and at one point, officers put out sticks causing Simone to hit a telephone pole.  He drove down a dead-end street where he finally stopped.  Richard got out of his truck with his hands up, and laid face down on the ground.  Officers then proceeded to beat Richard.    The chase was shown live by several news helicopters, including the beating.  The below video is when Richard stops his truck, surrenders, and is beaten.  The story continues below the video.   Read the rest of this entry

Not Just Kids Anymore. 45 Year Old With Toy Gun Killed By Police

“I thought I was doing the right thing.”  That is what Barbara Buckley of Brockton, Massachusetts said after police officers killed her husband.  Her husband of 20 years, Douglas Buckley, had been drinking. Barbara went to the police station about 12:30 a.m. on July 2, 2015, hoping they could intervene and take Douglas to the hospital. Barbara said that she told police that Douglas probably would not go quietly, but that he had no weapons, only some BB guns.

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Barbara and Douglas Buckley. Family photo

Two officers arrived on the quiet block where the Buckley’s live, and saw Douglas outside of the house carrying what appeared to be a rifle. According to a statement from Plymouth District Attorney Timothy Cruz, Douglas dropped the rifle, reached to his back and pulled out a handgun and pointed it at them. The officers opened fire, shooting Douglas in the right lower abdomen. He was taken to Signature Health Care Brockton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 a.m.   Read the rest of this entry

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