Litigation

Chemist at State Lab Was Getting High

Thousands of drug convictions in Massachusetts will likely be overturned by Massachusetts authorities because a chemist at the state lab was high on the drugs she was supposed to be testing.  This marks the second time in a year that thousands of drug charges were wiped away in Massachusetts due to official misconduct.

Sonja Farak, a chemist at the Massachusetts State Crime Laboratory in Amherst, was arrested in 2013. She later pled guilty to stealing drugs from the lab and was sentenced in 2014 to serve 18 months in prison.  It was determined that Farak was high almost every day she went to work as a result of ingesting the drugs she was suppose to be testing.

Between 2003 and 2011, chemist Annie Dookhan engaged in serious misconduct at a state drug lab that jeopardized the integrity of over 20,000 cases in Eastern Massachusetts.  Because of Dookhan's misconduct, the seven district attorneys ordered 21,500 cases dismissed in April 2017.

Lexis Advance® subscribers can enter search terms "state chemist misconduct Massachusetts" to access cases impacted by the misconduct.