Statement from Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan on the SJC’s opinion re Sonja Farak

Date: 
10.11.2018

Statement from Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan on the SJC’s opinion re Sonja Farak

Today’s Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court opinion hopefully represents the final chapter in a sad tale of a rogue chemist, a substandard Department of Public Health drug lab, and prosecutorial misconduct by two former Assistant Attorneys General.  It reflects a decades-long attitude that drug testing for criminal cases could be done on the cheap. 

In many ways, what is predictable is preventable.  Regular drug testing of Sonja Farak would have detected her addiction and prevented the wholesale dismissal of thousands of drug cases. The fact that no drug lab employee had pre-employment or post-employment drug testing was inexcusable. 

The silver lining in this whole scandal is the SJC’s recognition that the District Attorneys and their offices acted properly. The SJC opined:

“We discern no fault, however, in any actions of the district attorneys and their offices.  The district attorneys properly turned over the evidence they received to defendants whose convictions were called into question by Farak’s misconduct, and engaged in time-consuming work promptly to identify and notify individuals whose cases were affected by Farak’s misconduct.”

In accordance with the SJC’s decision, we will continue to work on identifying the affected drug cases to ensure they are dismissed in the best interests of justice.