Close to 200 inmates had been released from prison and their cases were put on hold after a chemist at a Boston-based drug testing lab was accused of faking drug test results.
During a public hearing on Wednesday, Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan told lawmakers that while investigators are looking at about 34,000 cases overall, 195 individuals have been released, 79 in Boston, the PoliceOne reports.
Heffernan did not disclose the kinds of crimes the inmates had been convicted of, but she said their release doesn’t mean they have been exonerated, instead, they could be under alternative forms of supervision as they await future court hearings to resolve their cases.
Heffernan also noted that the administration is “committed to ensuring that each individual’s case is reviewed completely to ensure that justice has been administered properly.”
On Tuesday, officials said Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered a “file-by-file review” of every case handled by chemist Annie Dookhan.
Dookhan was arrested by state police in September for mishandling drug test results, forging paperwork, and mixing samples. She worked for nine years at the lab and tested more than 60,000 samples involving 34,000 defendants.
The drug testing lab, which was overseen by the Department of Public Health, has since been shut down after state police found that Dookhan failed to follow drug testing protocols. The scandal resulted to the resignation of the lab’s three officials and has thrown thousands of criminal cases into doubt. It’s testing has turned over to the state police.
David Meier, a former state prosecutor appointed by Gov. Patrick to identify cases Dookhan worked on, said on Tuesday that his team has identified about 10,000 people whose drug cases were potentially affected by the alleged misconduct.
The accused chemist is free on a $10,000 bail.