Courts continued to set convicted drug dealers free as the state deals with the fallout from the alleged actions of a "rogue chemist" who was allowed to mishandle drug evidence for years.
Here's a roundup of key developments this week as the state works through more than a thousand cases in which people are behind bars on evidence handled by Annie Dookhan, the disgraced worker at the shuttered State Drug Lab in JP.
- City Councilor Tito Jackson called for creation of a new city department to deal with convicts being released early. In Boston alone, up to 600 convicted drug dealers may get out of jail early.
- Courts continued to process cases. A special session begins Monday for Middlesex County.
- Two media outlets provided step-by-step "explainers" of how these drug cases are being handled in Suffolk County. Each day there's a live cable feed from one of the state's prisons to a Boston courtroom as inmate after inmate has his or her case heard. Here's the "explainer" we put together at Patch. And here's David Boeri's WBUR report along the same lines. It ends with the memorable line, "For Suffolk Superior Courtroom 808, Friday will be another day, another prison, another shovel into the mountain."
- The scandal has forced the resignations of several state officials already. This week, Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney George Papachristos stepped down after the revelation of extensive emails between him and Dookhan. Prosecutors are not allowed to contact forensic lab staff directly.