Improving advocacy and trial skills for litigators who practice in state court, federal court and alternative-dispute venues

Drug Lab Crisis Panel Members Detail Steps Forward and Frustrations

Monday, December 03, 2012

By Georgia Critsley

Members of the criminal justice community gathered in a packed room on November 27 for a panel discussion of “Crisis in the JP Drug Lab: Implications for the Criminal Justice System.”  The panel, moderated by BBA Council member and Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Christina Miller, included Major James Connolly of the Massachusetts State Police, Attorney Anne Goldbach, of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Attorney David Meier of Todd & Weld, Assistant District Attorney Paul Treseler of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office (SCDAO), Attorney Victoria Kelleher of the Law Offices of Victoria Kelleher, and Nancy Wong Brooks of the Massachusetts State Police Forensic Chemistry Section.


See the entire photo album here.

ADA Treseler first recounted the steps taken by the SCDAO upon discovery of the tampered drug analyses and the formation of the special narcotics unit to handle the affected cases.  Treseler also described the regular meetings held with members of the defense bar to further identify and prioritize cases.  Attorney Goldbach relayed the frustrations of the defense bar who were initially informed the number of “Dookhan cases” were limited to ninety in a single county.  She also predicted the “multiple layers” of defendants negatively impacted by the drug lab crisis would result in these cases being brought forward and fought for years, for example, defendants who have been incarcerated, individuals detained by the U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and parents who have lost custody of their children.

Attorney Kelleher also expressed frustration at the initial lack of available information about the crisis.  She relayed that she became involved in the drug lab crisis when a Boston Herald reporter informed her that Annie Dookhan had been indicted for obstruction of justice for tampering with drugs in her former client’s case.  In that case, in spite of protestations over the genuineness of the drugs in question, Attorney Kelleher’s client was convicted and incarcerated.  The drug lab investigation revealed that chemist Annie Dookhan had tampered with the drugs to achieve a positive analysis.

Major Connolly detailed the Massachusetts State Police drug lab accreditation and the plans to expand the present lab staffing with eight chemists which would bring the lab to capacity.  He further detailed plans to expand the lab itself in order to handle the backlog and additional testing resulting from this crisis.  Forensic Chemistry Section Manager Nancy Wong Brooks described, in detail, the lab’s procedures in handling evidence and the chain of custody procedures. 

Attorney Meier, appointed by the Governor to identify cases affected by the drug crisis, told the audience the first priority following his appointment was to identify those cases in which defendants were in custody on “Dookhan cases.”  He also relayed the Department of Public Health (DPH) list was generated based on the information available to the DPH at the time and was only a beginning to identifying all impacted defendants.  He advised an exhaustive list would require reviewing each DPH case file for which the Governor had promised resources.  Attorney Goldbach added CPCS attorneys were searching through their own case files of all DPH drug lab related cases and additional individuals not on the original list had been identified.

 

 

Litigation Committees

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
    This committee hosts speakers on a wide variety of issues relating to arbitration, mediation and other dispute resolution processes. It strives to offer programs that are of value to individuals who serve as mediators and arbitrators, as well as advocates representing clients in dispute resolution processes, both domestic and international.

    Contact Information

    Catherine E. Shanks

    (401) 862-3798

    William McClare Dunham

    Sherin and Lodgen LLP

    (617) 646-2017

  • Antitrust & Business Litigation Committee
    This committee provides a means of dialogue and learning for members who share an interest in business litigation.

    Contact Information

    David B. Mack

    O'Connor, Carnathan and Mack LLC - Burlington Office

    (781) 359-9005

    Rachel M. Brown

    Shapiro Haber & Urmy LLP

    (617) 439-3939

  • Class Actions Committee
    This committee explores the ever-changing landscape of class action practice and procedure in federal and state courts in a wide variety of areas, including mass torts, environmental law, securities and consumer fraud.

    Contact Information

    Elizabeth A. Ryan

    Bailey and Glasser LLP

    (617) 439 6730

    Matthew G. Lindenbaum

    Goodwin Procter LLP

    (617) 570-8318

  • Construction Law Committee
    This committee addresses all aspects of construction law, including contract documents and alternative project delivery systems; construction litigation, arbitration and ADR; public contract law and other legal issues of interest to practitioners who handle matters relating to construction.

    Contact Information

    Rhian M.J. Cull

    Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP

    (617) 378-4120

    Michael P. Sams

    Kenney & Sams, P.C.

    (508) 490-8500

  • Environmental Litigation Committee
    This committee focuses on Chapter 21E, CERCLA, insurance, clean air and clean water litigation.

    Contact Information

    Seth Schofield

    Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General

    (617) 727-2200

    Peter F. Durning

    Mackie Shea O'Brien, PC

    (617) 266-5700

  • Federal Practice and Procedure Committee
    This committee concentrates on developments in federal civil procedure and practical issues affecting practice in federal court. Areas covered include changes and proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the District of Massachusetts' Local Rules; reports of new and significant decisions interpreting the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Federal Rules of Evidence; and presentations concerning such practical matters as the District of Massachusetts' mediation program and the use of technology in the courtroom.

    Contact Information

    Christine M. Genaitis

    Collora LLP

    (617) 371-1000

    Benjamin M. Stern

    Holland & Knight LLP

    (617) 305-2022

  • Intellectual Property Litigation Committee
    This is a joint committee between the Intellectual Property and Litigation Sections. This committee provides education concerning the enforcement of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secrets rights as well as the defense of those accused of infringing on such rights, in federal and state courts and before the International Trade Commission.

    Contact Information

    Dalila Wendlandt

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    (617) 951-7884

    Kelli Powell

    Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP

    (617) 526-6819

    Kerry L. Timbers

    Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP

    (617) 443-9292

  • Litigation Membership Committee
    This committee aims to increase participation in the Section through outreach activities.

    Contact Information

    Ronaldo Rauseo-Ricupero

    Nixon Peabody LLP

    (617) 345-1071

  • Litigation Public Policy Committee
    The BBA is very active in legislative and regulatory changes. Attorneys are often asked to lend their expertise.

    Contact Information

    David W. Robinson

    Ruberto, Israel & Weiner, P.C.

    (617) 742-4200

    Christopher D. Strang

    Desmond, Strang & Scott, LLP

    (857) 233-5534

  • Litigation Public Service Committee
    Each year in recognition of Pro Bono Month, this committee, along with the Rappaport Center for Law and Public Service at Suffolk University Law School holds a pro bono opportunities fair for attorneys and law students. The committee also focuses on pro bono trainings and brown bag programming.

    Contact Information

    Daniel M. Routh

    Ropes & Gray LLP

    (617) 951-7256

  • Massachusetts Practice and Procedure Committee
    This committee concentrates on developments in Massachusetts civil procedure and practical issues affecting practice in Massachusetts courts.

    Contact Information

    Kristin Casavant

    Jones Day

    (617) 449-6907

    Victoria Fuller

    Rose, Chinitz & Rose

    (617) 536-0040

  • Professional Liability Committee
    This committee covers issues involving the liability of accountants, lawyers, physicians, architects and other professionals for malpractice, including liability under federal statutes and consumer protection laws.

    Contact Information

    Debra A. Squires-Lee

    Sherin and Lodgen LLP

    (617) 646-2036

    Christopher R. Conroy

    Peabody & Arnold LLP

    (617) 951-2079

  • Securities Enforcement and Litigation Committee
    This committee aims to foster dialogue among the legal and investigatory staff of securities regulators, lawyers who represent companies and persons involved in regulatory investigations/enforcement proceedings and lawyers who represent plaintiffs in private securities litigation and shareholder derivative actions.

    Contact Information

    Sarah G. Kim

    Bingham McCutchen LLP

    (617) 951-8768

    Richard Rosensweig

    Goulston & Storrs, PC

    (617) 482-1776

  • Steering Committee
    The leadership committee of the Section organizes programs and discusses policy. To inquire about opportunities, please contact the Section Co-Chairs.
  • Tort Committee
    This committee addresses all matters relating to injury and damage to persons and property.

    Contact Information

    Michael Robert Brown

    Peabody & Arnold LLP

    (617) 951-2072

    Eric Asquith

    Todd & Weld LLP

    (617) 624-4769