Thousands of Massachusetts convictions tainted by rogue lab chemist tossed

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the cases tainted by Sonja Farak, who pleaded guilty to stealing drugs from the lab.

In this Jan. 22, 2013, file photo, Sonja Farak, left, stands during her arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, Mass. Massachusetts prosecutors said Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, they will dismiss more than 6,000 convictions tied to the former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years. Farak pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing drugs from the state crime lab at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and tampering with evidence. (Don Treeger/The Republican via AP, Pool, File)
Sonja Farak at her 2013 arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court. –Don Treeger / The Republican via AP, Pool, File

BOSTON (AP) — A judge on Massachusetts’ highest court has ordered the dismissal of thousands of cases tainted by a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the state’s public defender agency say more than 11,000 convictions in nearly 7,700 cases are being tossed.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss the cases tainted by Sonja Farak, who pleaded guilty in 2014 to stealing drugs from the lab.

The ACLU and Committee for Public Counsel Services also are asking the court to throw out thousands of other cases potentially impacted by the rogue chemist.

Advertisement

Farak’s case is separate from another Massachusetts drug lab scandal that resulted in the dismissal of some 21,000 convictions last year.

Close

Get the latest sports alerts sent directly to your phone. Download our free app.