Post Date: March 4, 2014
Today, Massachusetts’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued its long-awaited report on the Hinton drug lab scandal. The purpose of the OIG’s investigation was to look at how the Hinton lab was run for the 10 years before it was shut down in 2012. We’ve summarized a few of the OIG’s findings and recommendations below; you can read the full 121-page report here.
The OIG’s report doesn’t say anything about our current laws. It does, however, provide yet more evidence for why mandatory minimum sentences for drugs must be repealed. Drug offenders should be judged according to what they did, not how much the evidence weighed.
The OIG’s findings. The OIG found many major problems with how the drug lab was run. Here are three findings that may be of most interest to FAMM members:
The OIG’s recommendations. The OIG made many recommendations on how a drug lab should be run. For cases where the evidence was tested at the Hinton lab:
The OIG declined to say how the courts should resolve drug lab cases, but noted that court decisions from other states about similar lab problems may be helpful. (We will let our members know when Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court issues its decision in the six drug lab cases under review.)
What this means for prisoners or those with pending cases. Prisoners whose evidence was tested at the Hinton Lab between 2002 and 2012 should contact their defense attorneys to see if the OIG report might affect their cases. The report details many problems other than the ones described above. If their defense attorney is no longer available, they can call the Committee for Public Counsel Services (the public defender’s office) at 1-800-882-2095 and ask for the “drug lab hotline.”
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Barbara J. Dougan
Massachusetts Project Director
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)
Contact FAMM’s Massachusetts Project:
By phone: (617) 543-0878
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By mail: P.O. Box 54, Arlington, MA 02476