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The drug lab scandal: Who’s cleaning it up?

Veteran Boston lawyer David Meier was handed the unenviable task of fixing the drug lab debacle, one of the state’s biggest law enforcement scandals ever. Is he up to the job?

IT SOUNDS LIKE one of the least appealing jobs ever: Sift through tens of thousands of state and federal drug cases, determine which ones may be compromised by tainted evidence, help shepherd them through a knotty legal system, and then bring some measure of justice to those denied a fair trial. The time frame? Indefinite. The size of the problem? It’s a sprawling mess. The stakes? High. The chances of broad public recognition or gratitude? Low.

Which is to say, it’s just the kind of offer David Meier couldn’t turn down. With an abiding — some might say almost masochistic — commitment to the integrity of the criminal justice system, Meier, a veteran prosecutor now in private practice, was the natural choice when Governor Deval Patrick needed a skilled hand to repair one of the biggest law enforcement scandals in Massachusetts: the alleged widespread misconduct of a chemist at a state drug lab and the serious oversight lapses that allowed it to happen.

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