On April 12, 2016, a former Massachusetts’ State Chemist was released after serving three years of a three to five-year sentence for faking drug results, forging paperwork and mixing samples at a state lab. In the world of Criminal Justice, both prosecutors and defense attorneys rely on the data collected by such professionals to prove and disprove their cases. State officials have said that defendant’s actions may have affected up to 40,000 cases and the State decided to set aside millions of dollars to ensure that defendant’s will be able to have their substances retested.
In this day and age, the criminal justice system is hugely reliant on science and tests performed by professionals like her to ensure that justice is served. What she did usurped the entire justice system and violated the constitutional rights of thousands of people charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Marijuana, and other criminal offenses. If this had happened in Texas, the State would be required to provide what is known as a Brady Notice to the criminal defendant or his attorney listing her criminal conduct. Brady v. Maryland is a staple Supreme Court case which a prosecutor failed to turn over exculpatory evidence which violated Mr. Brady’s constitutional due process rights. Generally, the Brady decision in turn requires that prosecutors turn over any evidence that is favorable to a defendant.
When the defendant was sentenced by Massachusetts’ Judge Carol Ball the Court detailed the ramifications of her actions, and the millions of dollars that she has wasted by not doing what she was hired for, and violating the integrity of the criminal justice system. While she may have caused hundreds or thousands of innocent people to serve sentences that they should not have been given, she did only three years in a state prison. She usurped the function and duty of a juror which is to rely on the evidence that is presented and make a finding on whether or not the alleged offense occurred beyond a reasonable doubt by tainting the evidence.
What does this mean for my case?
Everyone has a cellphone with a camera on it now, which has caused a huge increase in accountability for police officers and other members of the criminal justice system. Although she was not working in the State of Texas there are hundreds of individual’s like her out there. I feel it is my personal responsibility to ensure that those like her do not go unchecked and that every piece of evidence is reviewed prior to making any decisions with a case. It is also the job of prosecutors to ensure that they give defense attorneys, and defendant’s notice of any evidence which might fall under Brady.
Make sure that in your case, you have an attorney who knows the law, and the pitfalls of people who work in the criminal justice system. The Brady prosecutors and individuals like the defendant upset the delicate balance of our judicial system. Without the right Fort Worth criminal defense attorney, you may lose your case and be convicted of a greater criminal offense than you should be. Or much worse, you could be convicted of something you really didn’t do.