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JP Drug Lab: What Can the State Do to Ensure Public Safety?

As the drug lab scandal continues to unwind, more cases are heading back to court, where judges reduce or remove bail, or overturn convictions. What should the state do to maintain public safety?

The ramifications of the JP drug lab scandal are starting to play out in and out of court. Marcus Pixley skipped his court date yesterday.

Pixley, who was held on $5,000 bail in connection to a South End drug possession arrest, had his bail reduced to $1,000, which he posted. A judge ordered the reduction because samples in the case were tested at a Jamaica Plain drug lab where a chemist has admitted to falsifying results and other infractions.

The drug lab scandal isn't going away and time soon. As the 34,000 affected cases have samples retested, many will also make their way back to court. Judges have reduced and sometimes set aside bail in affected cases. With yesterday's missed hearing, we now have a fugitive connected to the scandal.

What can be done to maintain public safety as these cases are sorted out? The arrested have a right to due process, and the actions admitted by lab chemist Annie Dookhan certainly violated that right. Should public safety trump defendant rights, or is that a perversion of our criminal justice system? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

Peter R October 05, 2012 at 04:13 PM
State should send all samples to more than one lab. If an individual is facing long term jail, we cannot correctly base that on a single, unsupported, unconfirmed test result.

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