Special courts are being established to handle the wave of criminal cases that could be reopened by the actions of a state chemist who admitted altering drug test results and forging colleagues’ initials at a Jamaica Plain laboratory.
Robert Mulligan, chief justice of the state trial court, pledged Thursday to use every possible resource to make sure the cases — expected to number in the thousands — are dealt with expeditiously. The business hours of courts may need to be extended because of the sheer number of cases, Mulligan said.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers pressed for the special courts, described by some judges as unprecedented in Massachusetts.
The precise mechanics of the special courts remain to be worked out. That includes determining which judges will hear the cases in district court and superior court in each county.
The administration of Governor Deval Patrick asked all of the agencies involved in investigating the scandal, and working to repair the damage wrought, to estimate how much their work will cost. The governor plans to ask the Legislature for funds to cover those costs, which could end up in the millions of dollars.
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