There is more than just a dash of ‘ignoring the elephant’ going on in the Criminal Justice industry (police, DAs and their politicians) regarding junk ‘sciences’ eroding effect on what they trumpet as ‘public safety advocates.’
Boston Herald for-pay article summarized by The Charles Smith Blog
STORY: “Farak, Dookhan cases still costing taxpayers,” by state house reporter Matt Stout, published by The Boston Herald on May 21, 2017.
GIST: “As they grapple with an ever-tightening budget, state bean-counters are setting aside $2 million to continue covering costs from the fallout of the state’s drug lab scandals, underscoring the stubbornness of a crisis that refuses to die five years after it first broke. The cash, included in spending plans submitted by Gov. Charlie Baker, the House and Senate, is earmarked for the Hinton Lab Response Reserve, which was set up in 2013 in the wake of chemist Annie Dookhan’s mishandling of thousands of drug samples. But Baker’s budget office says it’s also for costs tied to the Amherst drug lab where chemist Sonja Farak was accused of dipping into narcotics for at least eight years, potentially jeopardizing thousands of other cases. The proposal would cover “new anticipated costs for the investigation and response related to the allegations of misconduct,” said Sarah Finlaw, a spokeswoman for the Office of Administration and Finance. The office did not describe the basis of the new costs. It would add to an already stunning amount of time and money spent on corralling the scandals’ aftershocks. The state in 2013 created a $30 million fund to cover costs from the Hinton lab, of which roughly $20.3 million was spent, according to Baker’s budget office. But it also sustained heavy cuts amid the state’s previous budget woes. Then-Gov. Deval Patrick slashed $9 million from it in 2014 and Baker cut another $800,000 shortly after taking office to help close a budget gap. At the time, a Baker spokesman said that the reserve fund “was never intended to be a recurring funding source for routine operations.” No money was allocated for it either last fiscal year or in this one. Yet, it’s surfacing again for 2018, even after it appeared the problems tied to Dookhan had all but been put to rest. Last month, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that more than 21,500 cases tied to the Hinton scandal would be dismissed, and defense lawyers said at the time they didn’t believe there was anyone left in jail with a case tainted by Dookhan.It’s also now been a year since a state probe determined that Farak’s actions were more far-reaching than authorities first let on, opening new questions of her actions’ impact. Keep in mind, Dookhan was first arrested in 2012, Farak in 2013. They’ve both already been sentenced, served prison sentences and earned their release. So, in the eyes of the law, they paid their price. The state is still paying its.”