Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, today released the following statement in response to the Hampden Superior Court's decision in Commonwealth v. Cotto:

"Today is a victory for justice and fairness. This opinion delivers much-deserved—and long-awaited—justice to victims of the Sonja Farak and Amherst drug lab scandal.

"Massachusetts' 'war on drugs'—or the war against people who suffer from drug addiction—has produced two of the largest drug lab scandals the country has ever seen. The only sensible next step is for all of the victims of this crisis to have their convictions vacated and their tainted drug charges dismissed. We saw this earlier this year when prosecutors agreed to the dismissal of 23,595 convictions tainted by Annie Dookhan at the Hinton drug lab. In this latest scandal, the court went further, finding both egregious lab misconduct and "reprehensible" prosecutorial misconduct. Based on those findings, every single case affected by Sonja Farak and the Amherst lab scandals should be dismissed.

"Doing right by the victims of the drug lab scandal is critical to restoring the integrity of the criminal justice system and an important step toward addressing the criminalization of substance abuse."

Read Hampden Superior Court's decision.

Learn more about the case Commonwealth v. Cotto.

 

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