Widening scandal at state drug lab in Mass. exposes opportunities for reform
July 17, 2015
Sonja Farak, a state forensic chemist in western Massachusetts, was minutes away from testifying in a drug case in early 2013 when attorneys learned she was about to be arrested on charges of tampering with evidence and stealing drugs from her workplace. . . .
Farak was charged in only two cases at first – involving the theft of two samples and their replacement with counterfeit substances. Then-Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said that no suspects’ due process rights were violated and that the contraband stolen was “a small amount,” The Boston Globe reported at the time. . . .
Police recovered some of the documents from her car after her arrest. They were referred to in the police report as “assorted lab paperwork.”
Luke Ryan, an attorney based in Northampton, Mass., asked Coakley’s office multiple times for the recovered evidence. Mr. Ryan, who has represented clients potentially affected by the Farak scandal, says he was first allowed to review the evidence on Oct. 30, 2014. Based on what he saw, he and another defense attorney asked a judge to order the full records from Farak’s therapy sessions.