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Professor’s Scholarship Cited in Drug Case

Michael Cassidy's article on prosecutorial misconduct is factor in dismissal of thousands of convictions.

Professor R. Michael Cassidy. Taken on November 29th 2007. 

BC Law Professor Michael Cassidy, an expert in criminal law and prosecutorial ethics, played a role in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s October 11 decision to dismiss thousands of additional drug convictions because of the wrongdoing of a drug lab chemist and two assistant attorneys general.

In its unanimous ruling in Committee for Public Counsel Services v. Attorney General, the SJC determined that widespread evidence tampering by Sonja Farak, the Amherst lab chemist, had “compromised the integrity of thousands of drug convictions” and that her misconduct was “compounded by prosecutorial misconduct.”

Cassidy’s scholarship on prosecutorial misconduct was quoted in the decision critical of the Attorney General’s office for failing to disclose exculpatory evidence in the scandal, leading to the earlier dismissal of 8,000 criminal cases. The cited article, “Plea Bargaining, Discovery, and the Intractable Problem of Impeachment Disclosures,” was published in Vanderbilt Law Review in 2011.

The SJC’s October ruling expanded by thousands the number of convictions to be vacated.

Read more in the Boston Globe.