Prosecutors in one state have moved to throw out convictions in over 21,000 drug cases after it was discovered that some of the evidence had been tainted. This comes five years after a chemist at the drug lab was caught falsifying test results and tampering with the evidence. District attorneys in seven different counties have been asked to produce a list of which cases they would still be willing to prosecute on the drug charges in which that chemist was involved. Drug charges can be a serious accusation in Louisiana.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, as many as 21,587 cases have already been suggested for dismissal, making it the largest list in the history of United States criminal convictions. It is considered to be a major victory for the accused and their families. Thousands of people are suspected of being falsely accused and convicted of drug charges.
The chemist entered a guilty plea in a plea deal with the state. She admitted to the charges of tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and perjury. She spent just three years in prison, while some of those convicted on her word have already spent more. Some of the convicted are still in prison on charges that were not related to this incident.
In Louisiana, a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. Anyone who has been arrested on drug charges has the right to consult with a criminal lawyer who can help fight the accusation. Even after a conviction, someone could be found not guilty. By contacting an attorney, the accused gains a voice in the criminal justice system to stand up for his or her rights.
Source: wpxi.com, "Prosecutors move to toss thousands of tainted drug cases", Bob Salsberg, April 18, 2017