Articles Posted in Drug Crimes

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Massachusetts Marijuana Laws

Marijuana has been legalized in Massachusetts for just a few months and legislators are already trying to prune back some of the provisions concerning the cultivation of marijuana, among other changes that could curb how people use and grow marijuana in the future. Being one of the first states to adopt legalization of marijuana statewide, the Commonwealth is struggling to get comfortable with the idea that marijuana is legal, that small amounts can be possessed without fear of prosecution, and that Massachusetts residents can grow cannabis in their homes if they so choose. Massachusetts marijuana laws however are evolving.  Continue reading

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Drug Dealers Getting Charged for Overdose Deaths

In recent years it has become popular for illegal drug dealers to mix highly potent drugs such as the heroin with a substance known as fentanyl in order to generate a more profound high for those who are taking the drug. Fentanyl is the dangerous opioid drug compound that has produced far too many deaths in Massachusetts and the New England region as a result of its use. People who receive drugs that are mixed with fentanyl have a substantially increased risk of accidental fatal overdosing. In response, prosecutors are seeing drug dealers charged for deaths resulting from the drug dealing activities.  Continue reading

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Recreational Use of Marijuana

On the November ballot, Massachusetts voters had the opportunity to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in limited quantities. The voters have spoken, and starting December 15, 2016, it will be legal in Massachusetts for individuals who are over the age of 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana under House Bill 1.561. It will also be legal for residents to grow small amounts of marijuana in their private homes. Users can transport not more than 10 ounces of marijuana, and not more than 10 pounds of marijuana products (i.e., treats, confections, or other consumables). Continue reading

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Dookhan Drug Testing Lab Scandal

In November the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struggled with the question of how about best to handle the aftermath of the Dookhan drug testing lab scandal, according to the Boston Globe. Annie Dookhan worked as a chemist in a Massachusetts drug testing lab where she produced test results that were used in over 24,000 criminal cases as evidence against defendants accused and convicted of drug crimes. The problem is that because Ms. Dookhan mishandled at least some of the drug samples for a fact, and falsified her test results data, countless criminal defendants may have been convicted on bad evidence. Continue reading

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Opioid Drug

In recent years there has been an immense effort to combat the availability of an opioid drug, such as fentanyl, in Massachusetts, which was brought about by an increased rate of opioid-induced death. Fentanyl, a Class B controlled substance under Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 94C, Section 31, is used to cut other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, and is extremely addictive. The use of fentanyl skyrocketed because it has the effect of enhancing the potency of other drugs that it is mixed with, but this is also what makes fentanyl so incredibly dangerous. Continue reading

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Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Charges

Police made a traffic stop on Interstate 84 in mid-August and found considerably more than they bargained for. According to a recent report by Boston.com, the driver, Jeannie Ortiz, age 41, and passenger Domingo Ortiz, age 51, were found in possession of 85 grams of cocaine. The couple was charged with trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to violate state drug laws. Continue reading

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Conspiracy Charges

When defendants are faced with drug charges, these charges are often coupled with conspiracy charges. The two charges are separate, but are often brought together at the same time against a criminal defendant who stands accused of committing both crimes. Conspiracy charges are often tacked on to an underlying drug law violation, such as possession, intent to distribute or manufacturing illegal drugs or controlled substances. When conspiracy charges are tacked on to drug charges, the result can be increased penalties if the criminal defendant is convicted. Continue reading

Drug Chemist's Misconduct

Drug Chemist’s Misconduct

Within the past few months, Massachusetts drug testing labs have been under fire for two separate instances in which chemists working for the state engaged in misconduct that potentially could have an impact on thousands of drug convictions. Both Annie Dookhan and Sonja Farak were chemists at state run drug sample testing labs who engaged in behavior that produced inaccurate test results. The drug chemist’s misconduct has been greatly scrutinized for months now.  Continue reading

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Automatic License Suspension for Drug Convictions

One of the unintended consequences of being convicted on criminal drug charges in Massachusetts was that your driver’s license would automatically be suspended. However, thanks to a new law that unanimously passed in both chambers of the Legislature and was signed by Governor Charlie Baker, this automatic driver’s license suspension for drug crimes has been repealed and the five hundred dollar reinstatement fine associated with the suspension has been lifted, too. Luckily, the repeal is effective immediately. Anyone whose license was suspended under the old law will have it reinstated within thirty days of the new bill’s passage, and any records related to the driver’s license suspension will be protected from public access. Continue reading

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Victims of Annie Dookhan

Countless criminal defendants who received drug convictions based on evidence handled by the state drug labs have been closely watching the developments in the Annie Dookhan case. Annie Dookhan was a former crime lab analyst who in 2012 admitted to mishandling hundreds of evidence samples and labeling samples as drugs, even when the samples were not drugs or were not properly tested. Once Dookhan’s misconduct was discovered by state police during a lab audit, it came to light that there were potentially hundreds of wrongful convictions made on Dookhan’s test results. Criminal cases that involved Dookhan’s handling of drug samples began to be reviewed and hundreds of convictions have already been overturned. Conventional thought was that victims of Annie Dookhan would sue for being wronfully convicted.  Continue reading

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