ACLU of Massachusetts' executive director Carol Rose offered a civil liberties perspective on the latest headlines during her monthly visit to Boston Public Radio. Joining hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, Rose responded to the Department of Justice's findings on racism at Boston Latin School and voiced support for the ballot initiative to tax and regulate marijuana in Massachusetts. Rose, Braude and Eagan also covered new developments in our case regarding the Dookhan drug lab scandal.
"There are still 24,000 unresolved cases of people who are convicted based on tainted evidence, the vast majority for which were for really simple, minor crimes like possession of drugs," Rose said.
In July, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that those convicted on drug charges with tainted evidence could seek new trials. But Rose said the sheer volume of cases involved renders that option impossible.
"If we were to re litigate these, re prosecute these, on a case-by-case basis, we've calculated it would take 48 years," Rose said. "You can't give people their due process. It's not physically possible."
Rose says she's not looking to overturn cases in which Dookhan's evidence served as only part of the evidence for more serious crimes, like armed robbery. But the drug convictions, she says, are indefensible.
"The Commonwealth committed fraud," Rose said. "We have to vacate."