As the highest courts in Florida, Missouri, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania have demonstrated, systemic relief is necessary and appropriate to cure systemic failures that deny access to courts by imposing overwhelming demands on struggling public defense systems. Government misconduct created exactly that type of constitutional crisis by flooding the Commonwealth’s criminal legal system with 24,000 Dookhan cases. New revelations of even more corruption in the Commonwealth’s forensic sciences system are now anticipated to exacerbate that crisis by adding another 18,000 Farak wrongful-conviction cases. At the same time, the District Attorneys have undermined progress on fair, reliable case-by-case resolution of the Dookhan convictions by issuing misleading and ineffective communications regarding who is eligible to cure the government’s misconduct, how they should obtain relief, and when they must do so.
These developments underscore the unworkability of the current case-by-case approach to remedying the government misconduct at issue here. They demonstrate the compelling and immediate need for this Court to grant Petitioners’ requested relief by ordering these convictions vacated with prejudice, or with a severely limited opportunity for district attorneys to justify refiling charges in specific cases that are supported by untainted evidence and for the defense of which the Commonwealth’s public defense attorneys have sufficient resources to provide timely, quality representation. Any other resolution only exacerbates the ongoing harm to thousands of people from egregious government misconduct.
Moore, Janet, "Brief of the National Association for Public Defense as Amici Curiae Supporting Petitioner, Bridgeman v. District Attorney for Suffolk District, 476 Mass. 298 (2016) (No. SJC-12157)." (2016). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. 355.