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posted by martyb on Friday January 27 2017, @01:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the wheels-of-justice-grind-slowly dept.

The Free Thought Project reports

After years of injustice, thousands of people wrongfully convicted on drug charges in Massachusetts will finally have their convictions overturned. The ruling centers on drug lab tests that were falsified by a state-employed chemist named Annie Dookhan.

"The state's highest court on Wednesday [January 18] ordered prosecutors to drop a large portion of the more than 24,000 drug convictions affected by the misconduct of former state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan, issuing an urgent call to resolve a scandal that has plagued the legal system since 2012."

Dookhan was imprisoned in 2013 after being charged with a suite of crimes relating to her years-long career of deceit, where she falsified tens of thousands of reports to jail innocent people. She would mark results as "positive" for illegal substances without actually testing them, even adding cocaine to samples when no cocaine was present.

At [Dookhan's] sentencing, Judge Carol S. Ball stated, "Innocent persons were incarcerated, guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public, millions and millions of public dollars are being expended to deal with the chaos Ms. Dookhan created, and the integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core."

[...] The Massachusetts high court ruled that each [of 24,391 defendants] had a right to a hearing, but the cost and logistics of doing so would be unfeasible.

"The court said district attorneys across the state must "exercise their prosecutorial discretion and reduce the number of relevant Dookhan defendants by moving to vacate and dismiss with prejudice all drug cases the district attorneys would not or could not reprosecute if a new trial were ordered." The cases affected by the ruling include people who pleaded guilty, were convicted, or admitted that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them. By vacating the cases, the convictions would effectively be erased...
The court said defendants whose cases aren't dismissed should receive a notice that their cases had been affected by Dookhan's misconduct. Then, any indigent defendants would receive public counsel to explore requests to vacate their pleas or get new trials.

Related: Are Questionable Drug Tests Filling U.S. Prisons?


Original Submission

Related Stories

Are Questionable Drug Tests Filling U.S. Prisons? 69 comments

Pro Publica and The New York Times Magazine have each written about field drug testing by U.S. law enforcement agencies. The tests are undertaken with disposable kits containing chemicals. A sample is brought into contact with the chemicals and there may be a colour change, which is assessed by the officer. The essay tells the story of people against whom criminal charges regarding illegal drugs were filed, with the results of these field testing kits as the primary evidence in the prosecutions.

According to the essay, the use of the kits has various pitfalls which can lead to false positive results. For one thing, analytes which are legal to possess can produce the same colour change as illegal substances. For another, poor lighting which may be encountered in the field can distort the officer's perception of colours. Confirmation bias can occur. Also, officers may receive inadequate (or--the submitter supposes--incorrect) training in the interpretation of the colours. A former Houston police chief offered the opinion that

Officers shouldn't collect and test their own evidence, period. I don't care whether that's cocaine, blood, hair.

The essay mentions gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), an instrumental method which is typically undertaken in a laboratory, as providing more reliable results. The submitter notes that portable GC-MS equipment does exist (1, 2).

Nationwide, 62 percent of forensics labs do not conduct further testing in cases in which a field drug test was used and the defendant made a guilty plea. However, the Houston crime laboratory has been doing such testing. They have found that false positives are commonplace. The district attorney's office for Harris County, Texas, which handles cases from Houston, has been informed about those test results and is undertaking "efforts to overturn wrongful convictions." In three years, about as many such convictions have been overturned in Harris County as in the rest of the United States.

Referenced stories:


Original Submission

Massachusetts Throws Out 21,587 Tainted Drug Convictions 48 comments

Annie Dookhan's falsification of drug lab tests has become a reason for over 21,000 people to celebrate. Massachusetts will drop 21,587 cases in the largest single dismissal of convictions in U.S. history:

Massachusetts formally dropped more than 21,000 tainted drug convictions Thursday that were linked to a disgraced state chemist who in 2013 admitted to faking test results.

It's the largest single dismissal of convictions in U.S. history, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Thursday's dismissals by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court had been expected after several district attorneys on Tuesday submitted lists of 21,587 cases they said they would be unwilling or unable to prosecute, The Associated Press reports.

Previous Coverage:
Massachusetts: Tens of Thousands of Drug Convictions to be Overturned After Fraudulent Lab Tests.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @01:47PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @01:47PM (#459443)

    What else can you expect from a violently imposed monopoly?

    If your system is based on violent imposition, then violent imposition is what you'll get!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:29PM (#459534)

      Humans are violent. If your system is based on humans....

      Contract enforcement is a violent business, especially when you start having skirmishes, battles, and outright warfare with the other guy's contract enforcer.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @02:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @02:29PM (#459458)

    String her up. Prison is too good for this deplorable.

    • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday January 27 2017, @03:58PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Friday January 27 2017, @03:58PM (#459515)

      If your goal is to be viciously cruel to her, make sure she goes in before the women who she falsely convicted get out, and put them in the same population. They'll do far worse to her than anything you can come up with.

      --
      The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
      • (Score: 2) by rts008 on Friday January 27 2017, @11:18PM

        by rts008 (3001) on Friday January 27 2017, @11:18PM (#459753)

        While I agree that your solution feels good, I would rather not have the accused have to live with that kind of memory, and also would not want them to get further time to serve from that.

        Vengeance is easy, real justice is harder to do(and rarely 'fully satisfies' our feelings); at the end of the day, you have to decide 'who' and 'what' you want to be.

        Aye, that was a fine post regardless, but sometimes a little contemplation before action can be a good thing. :-)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:29PM (#459570)

      It kind of makes me wonder wtf happened to her that made her act this way. Perhaps a bad trip on some illegal substance? Or maybe to many in-through-the-out-door one night stands? Maybe she's just incredibly fugly and can't get any? Is there a punishment to fit this crime?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:58PM (#459593)

        Life in prison in Syria.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:12PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:12PM (#459599)

        That's what I can't figure out. What was her motive here? Was she too lazy to conduct the tests? Were the defendants in these cases personal enemies of hers? Is she a sadistic monster that delights in causing suffering for its own sake? None of these guesses seem realistic.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:34PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:34PM (#459617)

          Maybe this would be more realistic. Prosecutors want to use drug labs that give a lot of positives, right? So, she fakes positives to drive business. Happy customers = repeat customers.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @07:23PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @07:23PM (#459661)

            You may be onto something here. Though, if a lab consistently produces positives to the point that the prosecution notices, the defense would also notice and use this discrepancy to undermine the evidence. However, if it was more of an under-the-table sort of transaction, it might be possible.

            DA: Hey, Ms. Dookhan. I don't have enough evidence to get a conviction in this particular case. Could you "find some" for me. Here's an envelope full of money.

            After she does this once, both parties have dirt on each other which would prevent either one from defecting. I do hope that the prosecutors involved in these cases are also investigated.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @08:57PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @08:57PM (#459704)

            Very possible. My doctor requires a drug screen a few times a year. The test usually costs about $95, but they switched labs to one in Texas that charges $3400 for the same test. I informed the doctor about this, they said don't pay them and they switched back to the other lab. I did a little digging and found employee complaints that it was a boiler room type of business.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Desler on Friday January 27 2017, @07:02PM

          by Desler (880) on Friday January 27 2017, @07:02PM (#459640)

          A twisted sense of justice and indifference.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @07:02PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @07:02PM (#459641)

          It is the result of a defective brain but it's a lot more common than your hypotheses.
          Authoritarian [google.com] zealot [google.com]

          -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday January 27 2017, @07:12PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 27 2017, @07:12PM (#459654)

        It's not fugliness; read the article. They have a photo of her and she's pretty attractive actually.

        I think the other poster is correct: she must have an authoritarian mindset. The kind of mindset that leads to death camps.

        Unfortunately, this woman proves you can't judge a book by its cover. Just because a woman has a pretty face doesn't mean she isn't really a monster.

        • (Score: 2) by dry on Saturday January 28 2017, @06:39AM

          by dry (223) on Saturday January 28 2017, @06:39AM (#459828) Journal

          Unluckily human nature comes in. Most men would rather fuck the beautiful bitch then the nice 300lb fugly. This is reflected in their interactions.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by requerdanos on Friday January 27 2017, @02:45PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @02:45PM (#459475) Journal

    Drug Convictions to be Overturned After Fraudulent Lab Tests

    I would love to see the rest of the drug convictions overturned after the fraudulent premise that mere possession of "drugs" not approved of by the medical establishment warrants prison.

    It doesn't. It never should have. It never should.

    Possession of something irrelevant, and you injured or killed someone? Sure, consider prison... For the attack.

    Possession of something irrelevant, and you also stole something? Sure, consider prison... For the larceny.

    Possession of something irrelevant, and legislators, law enforcement, courts, and prisons have nothing better to do than persecute you? They should all get hobbies or something if they're that bored. But sending someone to prison for mere possession of possibly medicinal, possibly harmful elements, compounds, mixtures, or suspensions? No. Just no.

    To be clear, I am not advocating for unrestricted drug use. I am just advocating that being in possession of drugs is not and should not be a crime at all, much less one punishable by prison. Frowned upon in many instances, perhaps. But I can disagree with someone and "frown" at them without campaigning for their imprisonment. This is a mark of maturity, I believe.

    "But drug use raises society's medical costs," you might argue. And, perhaps so. But so do driving and riding motorcycles, for example (and by more, too), but simply driving and riding motorcycles are not imprisonable offenses and should not be.

    "But drug possession is predominantly associated with other crime," you might argue. And, perhaps so. But that "other crime" is already illegal; there is no need to add a special class of law "Doing something illegal... And also having some drugs or something!" when we already have laws against the "Doing something illegal" in the first place. Those who "Did something illegal" generally also had consumed bread or water soon before or after the offense in question, yet that does not affect the matter either. We could delve deeper and pick particular foods and beverages and habits with a "high association" to other crime, as has the "drug possession" in the position above, but it's unhelpful and irrelevant to attack "behaviors often associated with crimes" when you could just go after the "crime" itself and save a step.

    Kids, stay off drugs. They are generally bad for you, especially in less-than-well-informed situations. Also, because drugs are persecuted legally, they are often associated with dangerous crime which is also generally bad for you.

    But kids, if you merely own or possess drugs, I don't want your freedom(s) to be threatened. And right now, in most of the world, including the jurisdiction of TFS/TFA, they are.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:08PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:08PM (#459485)

      Yup, I always found it funny you can be charged for possessing drugs, if they were serious about fighting drugs they would go after those selling them. Instead of locking the person up with a little baggy.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:26PM (#459492)

      "guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public"

      Have they been convicted of doing something that will endanger the public? Because them simply doing drugs in and of itself doesn't endanger the public. Sure if they were driving and under the influence. But is that the case here?

      I have no problems with putting people in jail that endanger the public. But as far as I can am concerned they aren't doing that, they are simply wasting taxpayer money going after victimless crimes so they have something to grandstand about.

      And yes, drugs are bad and they can cause cognitive problems. People blame them for our lack of education. But all the money going towards the war on drugs can be used to fund better education and rehabilitation programs. Taxes from it can be used to fund these programs as well.

      and if the FDA really cares about human health they would legalize marijuana in favor of pain killers. Throughout the entire history of marijuana use worldwide there has only been a small handful of documented deaths caused by it yet every year in America alone more than one person per hour dies of painkillers. I'm not even sure if the documented marijuana related deaths were caused by marijuana itself or by a possible contaminant because the herb may have been obtained through the blank market (something a white market would remedy, not to mention a white market can easily improve how we prescribe it and create better contraindications through better experience and documentation).

      When Colorado legalized marijuana painkiller sales dropped in favor of marijuana so that tells me people are very willing to trade the more dangerous painkillers for the much much safer marijuana. If the FDA had any consideration for human health whatsoever they would be completely in favor of allowing people to use marijuana in place of painkillers. But the FDA doesn't care about you at all. They only care about corporate profits. That's the only agenda the agency has ever sought to serve.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday January 27 2017, @03:54PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Friday January 27 2017, @03:54PM (#459510) Journal

        If someone is doing various drugs (including alcohol) while operating a car or other machinery, give them a sentence. Otherwise, if they are stumbling around or hugging the street naked in public, treat it like a poisoning case. Bring them to a hospital, maybe give them the bill if they can afford it.

        Possession should be legal.

        --
        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:06PM (#459520)

      Yes, but:

      A) The proper analogy between driving and drugs here would be whether possession constitutes a crime, based on intended use. Nobody says owning a car or a motorcycle is unlawful or should be. As anyone owning one can (presumably) have a use for it as intended. There are lots of drugs that one can possess with no rational reason to use as intended. (Or the distribution of which without proper training and licensing constitutes reckless endangerment.) Plus, in the state of Illinois (and I think elsewhere) selling an ATV when the seller know a child will be driving it is unlawful. So your argument is invalidated on its face, as well.

      B) For those drugs which require a rational reason to use as intended.... Those licensed to manufacture, prescribe, and distribute them get into a shitload of trouble if they are knowingly manufacturing, prescribing, or distributing them without valid medical reason. So why should the possessor/end user be any different?

      C) Ride along on a few OD calls. Face the parent of a teen who just died from a heroin OD. Pay a hospital's budget for a week's worth of Narcan. Then you can have the right to suggest heroin should be street legal, OK?

      D) "As in most of the world they are." And as they should be. Before I have to face you and tell you your kid will have permanent brain damage from their experimentation, ok?

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:35PM (#459538)

        Face the parent of a teen who just died from a heroin OD.

        Why isn't the USFDA enforcing proper labeling and purity standards on these products? Oh, right, because they're illegal.

        So, so many of your own problems are your own creation. I'll pray for the poor teen, and I'll pray that man Jesus has the mercy I don't have for the parents who voted in such a system. I'll pray that man Jesus has the forgiveness I can't muster for people who have evidence in front of their fucking faces that legal weed reduces opiate deaths and hospitalizations and still vote for prohibition. The teen didn't deserve to be born into such of a fucking stupid society.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:37PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:37PM (#459539)

        D) "As in most of the world they are." And as they should be. Before I have to face you and tell you your kid will have permanent brain damage from their experimentation, ok?

        Freedom is more important than safety, so I'd rather take that risk.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by sjames on Friday January 27 2017, @05:22PM

        by sjames (2882) on Friday January 27 2017, @05:22PM (#459566) Journal

        The hospital could easily pay for a weeks worth of Narcan on the money we spend incarcerating just one person for simple possession.

        I would imagine that like many other things, sale to minors would remain illegal. That doesn't mean much to a degenerate on the black market who is going to get years just for having the stuff on him, but if it's perfectly legal to sell to an adult, but 5 years to sell to a minor, it would likely make a huge difference.

        What is worse, your child will have permanent brain damage OR your child will have permanent brain damage and he's going away for 5 years as soon as he gets out of the hospital? Oh, and if he ever cleans up his act, we'll make sure this follows him for the rest of his life and keeps him from finding better than a minimum wage job.

        And of course, that OD happened in the first place because it was bought on the black market and so was of an unpredictable quality and strength. He thought he was getting the mostly baking soda with a bit of heroin as usual but it turned out to have 3 times the usual amount of heroin in it.

      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday January 27 2017, @05:35PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @05:35PM (#459573) Journal

        Ride along on a few OD calls. Face the parent of a teen who just died from a heroin OD. Pay a hospital's budget for a week's worth of Narcan. Then you can have the right to suggest heroin should be street legal, OK?

        Law enforcement here where I live is facing a huge problem with heroin overdoses. Many of the law enforcement members I have talked to, seasoned veterans of drug enforcement, tell me that it's hard to change their "lock them up" mindset but they are more and more concluding that it isn't addressing the problem, where spending money on things like Narcan (which they now all carry) and education are doing more good with much less money and effort.

        Locking up people with drug problems doesn't seem to be changing their mindset, rather fostering an us-vs-them mentality (drug users vs. law enforcement), but Narcan, treatment, and education, with all of us on the same side, does seem to be having measured effects.

        I salute our local sheriff, John Ingram [wunc.org], for making a significant difference in people's lives--by helping people instead of pushing them towards prison. That's an extreme stance for me--most of my contact with law enforcement has been overwhelmingly negative--but I genuinely appreciate and acknowledge the efforts of him and of his deputies and detectives.

      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday January 27 2017, @05:41PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @05:41PM (#459575) Journal

        D) "As in most of the world they are." And as they should be. Before I have to face you and tell you your kid will have permanent brain damage from their experimentation, ok?

        I recognize that there are rational positions on both sides of the issue, by caring people who genuinely want the best for others.

        But I don't believe it's the freedom of people who are in possession of drugs that should be attacked. Rather, the ideas of those who don't understand the potential harm should be addressed. Treatment together with education, when helpful, helps in a long lasting way, whereas locking someone up so that they have more trouble shooting up but still have the same mindset when they are released is more expensive, and helps less.

      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday January 27 2017, @05:57PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @05:57PM (#459591) Journal

        A) The proper analogy between driving and drugs here would be whether possession constitutes a crime

        The analogy is that whether you possess a drug, or a vehicle, upon using what you possess in the usual way, you participate in an inherently risky act that raises cost for everyone, irrespective of whether they use drugs or vehicles regularly (or at all).

        The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently [pbs.org] estimated annual economic and societal harm of over 800 billion dollars owing to motor vehicle crashes.

        The National Institute on Drug Abuse similarly estimates [drugabuse.gov] about a 700 billion dollar annual cost related to drug use.

        These are similar figures, within 10% of each other, for costs to society in a particular area for people participating in "driving or riding as passengers" and for "people using drugs."

        Thus, the costs to society alone are not a reason to threaten every participant in these activities with prison. This should be, but for some reason was not, self-evident.

        The analogy that you propose, seeing whether the activities are already criminal (based on intent to drive, ride, or use drugs) to determine whether they should be criminal, is not the most helpful one I have ever seen, as there is a fair bit of tautology involved. The figures that the above-referenced study results produced admittedly did not take intent into account, but then legally, intent isn't taken into account when someone is imprisoned for merely possessing something.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Sunday January 29 2017, @09:09AM

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Sunday January 29 2017, @09:09AM (#460186)

        C) Ride along on a few OD calls. Face the parent of a teen who just died from a heroin OD. Pay a hospital's budget for a week's worth of Narcan. Then you can have the right to suggest heroin should be street legal, OK?
        D) "As in most of the world they are." And as they should be. Before I have to face you and tell you your kid will have permanent brain damage from their experimentation, ok?

        There's no room in the drug culture for amateurs.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @04:09PM (#459521)
      More than that, criminalising drugs just created a whole class of crime where previously there was none. The drug trade would not be so profitable and thus spawn the levels of crime that it does if it were as legal as booze or tobacco, which are arguably just as harmful and addictive as scheduled substances. If drugs were legal (with usage discouraged the way tobacco use is being discouraged these days), then there wouldn’t be most of the kinds of violent crime associated with drugs in the first place! If people want something they will always find ways to get it. Just as with alcohol prohibition in the past, drug prohibition is not going to work and is an absolute waste of money and lives. Let fools poison themselves with drugs if they want, the police and the threat of prison is not going to deter them one iota.
    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Friday January 27 2017, @04:32PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Friday January 27 2017, @04:32PM (#459535)

      I for the most part agree with you, especially for low impact drugs like pot. Heroin addiction however almost invariably turns the addict into a criminal, and often violent, making for a more difficult situation.

      --
      The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
      • (Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday January 27 2017, @04:40PM

        by Anal Pumpernickel (776) on Friday January 27 2017, @04:40PM (#459542)

        If someone becomes a criminal, then you'll have a valid reason to arrest them, but not until then. You can't even assume that all heroine use will lead to addiction. It's certainly not justifiable to ban someone from ingesting something because of what they might do in the future.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by KilroySmith on Friday January 27 2017, @06:13PM

        by KilroySmith (2113) on Friday January 27 2017, @06:13PM (#459600)

        >>>Heroin addiction however almost invariably turns the addict into a criminal,
        Well, so would Tobacco addiction, if tobacco were illegal and the addict had to pay street prices for it. Instead, they can go down to the corner store and buy a pack of smokes for $5. Where's the incentive to become a criminal for $5?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:13PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:13PM (#459602)

        most violent robbers are not addicts. addicts are weak and sick. they usually beg or hustle some non violent way, sometimes including theft, but usually not violent theft. the "people" doing carjackings and kick doors are just criminals that are too stupid to sell drugs or other crimes that involve math or discipline. they also represent a smaller percentage of the criminals. they could easily be apprehended and locked away if treasonous pigs weren't so busy stealing from actual working people.

      • (Score: 2) by Arik on Saturday January 28 2017, @12:35AM

        by Arik (4543) on Saturday January 28 2017, @12:35AM (#459769) Journal
        "Heroin addiction however almost invariably turns the addict into a criminal, and often violent,"

        Spoken like someone who knows exactly 0 heroin addicts.

        Of course any addict can be driven to crime when that's their only means of financing their joy (whether it's drugs or something else,) but heroin makes people slow and soft and hazy, not violent and aggressive.

        Many of the earlier generation of addicts were doctors themselves. This was true of morphine and also of heroin. These doctors did not become violent criminals - they continued to practice and in many cases were effective and respected for years without anyone discovering their weakness. When heroin was discovered, no one realized how crazy addictive it was at first, and many doctors of that era were actually junkies too. Since the drug was legal and they had easy access to it that wasn't such a big deal.

        --
        If laughter is the best medicine, who are the best doctors?
        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Saturday January 28 2017, @02:02AM

          by mhajicek (51) on Saturday January 28 2017, @02:02AM (#459788)

          I speak from the experience of a particular acquaintance in addition to what I've read from others.

          --
          The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Friday January 27 2017, @03:25PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 27 2017, @03:25PM (#459490)

    I briefly glanced at TFA. Obviously this Annie woman is a nut and needs to go to prison, probably for about 120,000 years according to my calculations (24,000 cases times an average of 5 years each). But what about all the people who enabled her? What is happening to them? They should get the same 120,000 year sentence. According to TFA, several whistleblowers tried to do something, but they were silenced by the lab. These people (whoever silenced the whistleblowers) are *just* as guilty as she is, and should suffer the exact same punishment, if not more!

    Of course, I also think whoever wrote the laws requiring people to go to prison for mere possession should get the same punishment too. And honestly, the cops and judges who took part in this travesty should all go to prison as well, though not as long (maybe 5-10 years each), and not be allowed to hold those jobs ever again or receive pensions. This is what I'd do if I were dictator.

    • (Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @03:41PM (#459497)

      you're doing it wrong then. that phillipine leader has the right idea. drugs are bad umkay. drug users are a drain on the system. period.

      • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Friday January 27 2017, @06:07PM

        by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @06:07PM (#459597) Journal

        that phillipine leader has the right idea.

        I don't think that threatening the lives of drug users helps society any more than does threatening their freedom. Threatening their wrong-headed ideas and tendency toward harm, I believe, has the potential to benefit society more.

        I disagree with you, for these and other reasons, but I modded you up because I don't think that you should be modded "troll" just for stating a position, even an extreme one, with which others disagree.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:47PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:47PM (#459629)

        A system is less important that the system's users. If large portions of the population are pouring drugs into themselves, in order to briefly escape from the system, it suggests that the system is not fit for purpose. You, on the other hand, conclude that these people are not fit for purpose.

        Do you know what else is a drain on your precious system? Drug prohibition: overburdened courts, filled to capacity prisons, militarized law enforcement.

        Let's not forget the wasted capacity of these laboratory facilities that could be doing useful research or medical screenings (for diagnosis and treatment rather than evidence for the prosecution).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @08:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @08:38PM (#459700)

          filled to capacity prisons, militarized law enforcement

          Those are features, not bugs to the authoritarian mindset. Then if the courts are overburdened, the authoritarian's next flourish of logic is to determine that courts should be abolished since they just get in the way.

          Makes my skin crawl. I'd rather be shot dead than live somewhere like that.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Desler on Friday January 27 2017, @03:49PM

      by Desler (880) on Friday January 27 2017, @03:49PM (#459506)

      The prosecutors who are all fighting against upholding the order of the court should be sent to jail too. Protecting one's conviction rate over justice should come with extreme penalties. But who am I kidding? They'll get some bad press maybe and then it'll be completely forgotten.

      • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Friday January 27 2017, @03:58PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Friday January 27 2017, @03:58PM (#459516)

        Yeah, those people should get over 100k years in jail too.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by jelizondo on Friday January 27 2017, @04:56PM

        by jelizondo (653) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2017, @04:56PM (#459550) Journal

        Bad prosecutors have a bright future, at least the one form California does!

        Quoting from the LA TIMES [latimes.com], about a guy who was indicted in 1998 and released until 2013 thanks to Kamala Harris, AG for California, who appealed his motions to keep him in jail: "[...] A federal magistrate reviewed those facts and determined that Larsen deserved to have his conviction overturned because his lawyer was inadequate.[...] 'Had the jury heard the exculpatory testimony,' the magistrate wrote, 'no reasonable juror would have found [Larsen] guilty.' The magistrate's recommendations were reviewed and upheld by a second federal judge in 2009. [...] Yet the California attorney general's office objected to releasing Larsen, and he remains behind bars while the fight over his release is appealed. [...] it is exceptionally rare for a federal judge to conclude that an inmate is 'actually innocent.' Under these circumstances, Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris would be wise to back off and let Larsen go. "

        But she didn’t prosecute Steven Mnuchin, quoting The Intercept [theintercept.com] “In the memo, the leaders of the state attorney general’s Consumer Law Section said they had ‘uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct’ in a yearlong investigation. In a detailed 22-page request, they identified over a thousand legal violations in the small subsection of OneWest loans they were able to examine, and they recommended that Attorney General Kamala Harris file a civil enforcement action against the Pasadena-based bank.”

        Where is now the former AG of California? In the Senate! Learn boys and girls, wrongful convictions and not prosecuting powerful people are the way to fame and glory.

    • (Score: 1) by keick on Friday January 27 2017, @07:06PM

      by keick (719) on Friday January 27 2017, @07:06PM (#459648)

      The rub is, she DID go to prison... Was got a whole 4 years for basically ending the lives of nearly 24,000 innocent folks. How many folks are immediately disqualified from work because of a prior drug conviction? Yes, their lives were completely ruined, and this dumb chick who never when to graduate school, forged her fucking degree, got a nice easy 4 year stint.

      Personally, she should be on death-row. She knew what she was doing, she knew it would ruin peoples lives. She didn't care. That is the type of person we do NOT need in our society.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annie_Dookhan [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 1) by keick on Friday January 27 2017, @07:13PM

        by keick (719) on Friday January 27 2017, @07:13PM (#459655)

        Holy crap, sorry for the bad grammar. I really should proof-read things before I hit submit.

        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Monday January 30 2017, @04:51PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday January 30 2017, @04:51PM (#460705)

          No, the site should be fixed so you can edit a post within a reasonable time after posting it (perhaps 1-5 minutes).

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @05:09PM (#459556)

    What else can you expect from a violently imposed monopoly?

    If your system is based on violent imposition, then violent imposition is indeed what you'll get!

  • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday January 27 2017, @05:43PM

    by sjames (2882) on Friday January 27 2017, @05:43PM (#459576) Journal

    ...issuing an urgent call to resolve a scandal that has plagued the legal system since 2012.

    REALLY?!? The basis of their plea bargains or convictions was found to be fraudulant 4 years ago and they call an order now urgent? I can almost hear it now, cartoon style "Tiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeees a waaaaaaaaaaaasttttttttttin" says the turtle.

    Perhaps the courts think nothing about 4 years but I'll bet some guy rotting for 4 years over a bag of powdered sugar he was planning to bake with has a very different view of how long 4 years is.

    As soon as it became clear that the trials were invalid due to fraudulent testing, those people became innocent in the eyes of the law. 4 years is a long time to keep an innocent person locked up.

    Meanwhile, simply releasing them after 4 years doesn't begin to compensate the victims of this wrongful imprisonment.

    And they have the nerve to call this action 'urgent' now?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 27 2017, @06:52PM (#459632)

      Yeah, when I'm doing my baking, I carry my sugar around in a ziploc baggie in my pocket with my "water pipe".

      • (Score: 2) by sjames on Friday January 27 2017, @07:33PM

        by sjames (2882) on Friday January 27 2017, @07:33PM (#459667) Journal

        Inside the box, the sugar is packaged in a plastic bag. No water pipe needed if a cop decides it has to be drugs and the lab agrees.

        I haven't had exactly that happen, but I have been questioned about pipe tobacco in a ziplock before.

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Dunbal on Friday January 27 2017, @05:52PM

    by Dunbal (3515) on Friday January 27 2017, @05:52PM (#459585)

    So the forger was IMPRISONED in 2013 and only now, 4 years later, they're getting around to releasing the people who were wrongfully convicted???