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The Boston Globe

Metro

Drug defendants freed in lab scandal

Tainted evidence has ‘massive public safety implications,’ Suffolk DA says

Suffolk County judges have freed at least 11 defendants facing drug charges, almost all with lengthy criminal ­records, since early September, in the first wave of potentially thousands of cases that have been gravely compromised by the burgeoning scandal at the state drug lab.

All the defendants were in jail awaiting trial on charges related to selling cocaine, heroin, or other drugs, but judges agreed to release them or drastically reduce their bail because evidence in their ­cases was analyzed by Annie Dookhan, the state chemist accused of altering test results and mishandling evidence. Charges against the defendants were not dropped, but defense attorneys say it is unlikely their clients can ever be convicted, based on evidence that could be tainted.

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