Another 180,000 Cases Now Need Review in Mass.

Another 180,000 Cases Now Need Review in Mass. December 4, 2013

…due to another quack chemist whose credentials were fake and who may have screwed up and lied in countless thousands of more criminal cases.

I don’t see the problem. As I have been clearly instructed countless times by people concerned to lift me out of my complete moral idiocy, it is perfectly legitimate for law enforcement officials to “lie” (if that’s what prissy puritans like me want to call it) in order to nail people we–let’s face it–*know* are bad guys. In such cases, people have no *right* to the truth, I’m told, so it’s simply acting, or a ruse of war, or some other euphemism that certainly doesn’t mean lying when you, wise as a serpent, use your holy wits to do whatever is necessary to Catch the Bad Guy. You are always and at all times morally indistinguishable from the guy who saved Jews from Nazis when you lie in the service of law enforcement. They should pin medals on these courageous and creative law enforcement people for doing what it takes to nail so many Bad People.

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  • kenofken

    This is the sort of nonsense and corruption that should lead us to question the very premise of the war on drugs, which has been a complete, unreserved failure, and a hideously expensive one at that. I hope the attorneys and the wrongfully convicted eat the taxpayers lunch, with desert, on this one.

    Beyond that, this is a classic example of modern management think. This person was producing a volume of “work”, which by any reasonable analysis, was simply not possible for a person to properly produce in a lab. Rather than taking the time to step back and ask “whatcha doin in there?”, they proclaimed this person a genius and the new standard of what everyone should live up to.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      To some degree, I agree that the war on drugs has been a failure and has resulted in great injustice.

      On the other hand, every time I hear someone go off about it, all I hear is, “I really want to smoke pot.”

      • I don’t want to smoke pot. I do want to get the attorney general out of the industrial production business however.

      • malcolmkyle

        It’s not a question of people wanting to get stoned—prohibition is simply a failed and dangerous policy and the majority of us are fed up of paying for its consequences.

        We can either ask the Tooth Fairy to stop people taking drugs or we can decide to regulate them properly. Prohibition is not regulation, it’s a hideous nightmare for all of us.

        Because Drug cartels will always have an endless supply of ready cash for wages, bribery and equipment, no amount of tax money, police powers, weaponry, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safe again —only an end to prohibition can do that! How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

        Debating whether a particular drug is harmless or not is missing the whole point. Is marijuana dangerous? Is Cocaine dangerous? Is Alcohol dangerous? It simply doesn’t matter if they are or not; If it’s not directly hurting you and you forbid it, then you can be sure that it WILL create unforeseen circumstances, which will have an adverse affect on all our wellbeing.

        If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

        If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these substances available in schools and prisons.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          If it’s not directly hurting you and you forbid it, then you can be sure
          that it WILL create unforeseen circumstances, which will have an
          adverse affect on all our wellbeing.

          From a moral standpoint, I don’t think this is a tenable position.

          If you support prohibition

          Everything you mentioned is an effect of the tactics and strategies used in enforcing prohibition in the USA (and I agree that it hasn’t worked). You’re way overstating your case that “if you’re for prohibition, you’ve helped to perpetuate all this evil” garbage.

        • kenofken

          Prohibition also laid the foundations for the military-police state apparatus which was later expanded with the Patriot Act. The idea that due process is completely optional for the government got its start in the drug wars in the 1980s.

  • The situation is not as you state. In this particular case, the chemist, Annie Dookhan, lied to the court. That significantly changes the argument. You’ve got a great story here but your treatment of it seriously detracts from your point.

    • orual’s kindred

      I’m not sure I understand how Annie Dookhan lying to the court changes the argument.

      • You can argue that a criminal does not have the right to the truth that a policeman is working undercover. This is plausible, whether ultimately it’s right or wrong as a matter of doctrine. But if the judge doesn’t have the right to the truth then what’s the point of having trials? There is no legitimate reason for hiding the truth of evidence from a judge, not even a colorable argument.

        • orual’s kindred

          Well, but does not falsifying evidence count as denying a judge’s right to the truth? And couldn’t an argument for denying that right be made in cases of corrupt judges/courthouses/rigged trials? Couldn’t the point of such rigged trials be called into question as well?

          • At that point, you’re not denying a judge the right to the truth but back to denying the suspect, who also happens to be a judge. If you run a prostitution sting, it would be ridiculous to call it acceptable for everybody but an officer of the court who is soliciting illegal services.

            In the case of corruption on the bench, wiring up defense counsel to record the law breaking and not letting the judge know that the offer is not genuine, the judge is similarly not acting as judge at the time. Taking a bribe is never judicial behavior.

            • orual’s kindred

              I’m still not sure I understand, but either way I’ll be thinking about this.

  • S. Murphy

    Reason enough to oppose capital punishment. Please God, actual malfeasance by various evidence techs and scientists in the lab is rare, but from the crime scene to the jury box, plenty of things can go just wrong enough that no one’s life

    • S. Murphy

      …should depend on the process.

  • freddy

    ****PARENTS BEWARE****
    Are YOU rearing another Annie Dookhan?
    Are YOU committing the sin of LYING to your children this Christmas Season?
    Have YOU sullied this most Holy Season with the LIE that SANTA CLAUS brings toys to good little girls and boys?
    This DASTARDLY DECEPTION from the pits of HELL will only lead to TEARS!
    Your own children might be the ones to imprison falsely thousands! perhaps millions! of innocent people!
    Drag your children Christmas shopping with you! Make them choose their own gifts and even make them do the wrapping. So what if they’re a little dull come Christmas Day. What’s the Season all about, really? Happiness? Joy?? No! It’s Jesus’ Birthday! A day when the purely pure prayerfully write thank-you notes around the kitchen table!
    (Paid for by the committee to erase fun: Grinch division.)

    • said she

      Cute and clever. But, in case you are serious: surely passing on our cultural stories is acceptable?

      • freddy

        No, not being serious, and totally agree with you. However, I keep running into Catholics who call Santa a “lie” we tell our children and implying that it is somewhat dangerous and sinful. Even our beloved host of this most excellent blog did so a few years ago, and I fear that this thinking informs the constant crowing/warning/shaming that happens whenever the subject of lying is raised. It is a distraction; and not one, I think, that will help those who disagree with Mark understand or agree with him.
        So, for all y’all this year: from the excellent Fr. John Hardon’s wonderful “The Catholic Catechism” Doubleday, 1975, paperback, page 402: “Thus what may verbally be contrary to fact, like telling children about Santa Claus, is not lying.”

  • kirthigdon

    This is the “CSI effect” with a vengeance. All those people must belong in prison because the lab techies said so. Thank God we don’t live in one of those evil police states.
    Kirt Higdon

  • malcolmkyle

    The main paragraphs from the address of His Eminence, Cardinal Dougherty, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the Catholic societies of the Archdiocese on New Year’s Day 1931:

    “Having heard the report on behalf of the members of the Total Abstinence Society, it occurs to me to say that when the law prohibiting alcoholic drink was passed, many thought that there would be no further need for our temperance or total-abstinence societies. Hence the practice of giving a pledge against intoxicating liquors to boys and girls at Confirmation was discontinued. There seemed to be no need of it.”

    “But, unfortunately. Prohibition has not performed the miracles that were expected. According to experts, such as judges, public officials, social service workers, and others, there is as much, perhaps even more, drunkenness and intemperance today than before the passage of the Volstead Act.”

    “When in the past did we see young men and women of respectable families carrying a flask of liquor when going to social events? When did we see young girls, not yet of age, drinking in public, perhaps to excess, cocktails and the strongest kind of intoxicating liquors, and perhaps being overcome by them? That, today, is not an uncommon sight.”