Drug Convictions Could Be Overturned after NJ State Police Lab Tech Faked Evidence
New Jersey authorities fear that thousands of drug convictions may be in jeopardy after an investigation found that an NJ State Police lab tech faked evidence in a drug offense case.
Although evidentiary issues do sometimes arise in NJ drug cases, they usually involve questions about the chain of custody. The revelation that a laboratory technician may have lied about evidence in at least one drug case has rocked the New Jersey legal system.
Kamalkant Shah worked as a New Jersey State Police laboratory technician at a lab located in Little Falls, NJ. In December 2015, authorities opened an investigation into Shah after receiving a tip that he had “dry labbed” evidence in a marijuana possession case. “Dry labbing” is a term used to describe a lab technician who writes down test results for a substance but doesn’t actually test the substance.
Thousands of NJ Drug Convictions Could Be Overturned
Although Shah was observed doctoring drug evidence in just one case, the NJ Attorney General’s Office plans to review all of the 7,827 cases that Shah worked on. In a memo, New Jersey Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon said that “specimens from open cases” would be submitted for retesting.
In drug cases where the defendant accepted a plea deal very early in the legal process, it is unlikely that the convictions will be overturned, according to Passaic County assignment judge Ernest Caposela.
However, the cases that are most likely to be affected by the allegations of lab misconduct are those in which defendants were convicted without actually pleading guilty to the charges.
For more information about this developing situation, read the NJ.com article, “Judge: We May Need to Let Prisoners Out over Lab Tech’s Faked Results.”
If you or a loved one has been arrested for simple possession of marijuana, cocaine distribution, prescription drug offenses or any other drug offense in NJ, the aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Lombardi and Lombardi, P.A. can help you fight your criminal charges. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.