Lawful procedures are vitally important to the criminal justice system. A defendant has a constitutional right to procedural due process, and a court may deem any evidence obtained by improper procedures to be tainted, and consequently inadmissible.
Yet procedures do not only apply to the investigative phase of criminal justice. As a recent story illustrates, proper criminal procedures must be followed throughout the entire phase of a case.
The story involves a lab worker who admitted to tampering with evidence and forging test results in over 21,000 drug cases in a nearby state. The falsifications were apparently done in an effort to overachieve and increase productivity: The lab worker had been the company’s most prolific worker before she was charged with tampering with evidence and sentenced to three years in prison.
After the lab worker’s behavior was discovered, the local branch of the American Civil Liberties Union filed for a dismissal of the cases. A judge recently granted the request, marking the end to a five-year legal fight. The prosecutors had initially asserted that the burden of proving a wrongful conviction was on the defendants, but the massive fraud persuaded the court offer a different solution. The prosecutors were given the opportunity to retry a small subset of the affected cases. The remaining cases were dismissed.
Our law firm understands the importance of procedural due process. If you are facing criminal charges, you need an experienced attorney to review all of the allegations and evidence against you. Our attorneys know how to fight for your rights and to prepare a strong defense for trial.
Source: NBC News, “Epic Drug Lab Scandal Results in More Than 20,000 Convictions Dropped,” Jon Schuppe, April 18, 2017