A new docu-series on Netflix,"How To Fix A Drug Scandal," highlights the team at the heart of the push to clear more than 30,000 drug convictions, stemming from tainted evidence at the hands of chemists Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan.
ACLU of Massachusetts Legal Director Matt Segal and a handful of criminal defense lawyers felt the convictions couldn't be upheld with evidence that had been tainted by the chemists, and spent years fighting for broad dismissal of the cases, instead of a case-by-case determination through the court system.
Segal told Boston Public Radio on Tuesday the multiple scandals revealed massive, systemic inequities in the criminal justice system. By 2018, the Supreme Judicial Court had dismissed 35,000 cases involving convictions obtained with evidence analyzed by Farak and Dookhan.
"We were able to overturn 61,000 drug charges, to affect maybe 35,000 cases," said Segal. "When were trying to do this work, people kept saying well if you do that the sky will fall there will be mayhem in the streets. And that hasn't happened.
"One of the things that this scandal shows is, it's going to be okay everyone, if we end the war on drugs it's going to be okay, and we have now hard proof of that in Massachusetts."