I attended the oral arguments heard by the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday on the matter of resolving the Annie Dookhan drug lab scandal (“Lawyers urge SJC to dismiss lab cases,” Metro, Nov. 17). I was dismayed to hear Assistant District Attorney Susanne M. O’Neil argue, “We’re prepared to roll up our sleeves and do the work for each case,” when the district attorneys have failed to restore justice for more than four years, including properly notifying victims. I agree with Justice Geraldine Hines that what the district attorneys argued about how many defendants want to appeal their cases made “it sound like a class of people just don’t care.” Their arguments showed complete disregard for the immense collateral consequences that continue to follow people who have been wrongfully convicted of drug crimes.
The only fair and just remedy is to dismiss all of these cases. These prosecutors are protecting convictions, not the public. Who benefits from preserving convictions based on fraudulent evidence? Perhaps prosecutors do. Surely, defendants, their families, and our communities deserve better.