Drug Lab Crisis:

From 2003 to 2012, Annie Dookhan worked as a chemist at the Hinton State Drug Lab testing samples associated with people charged with drug crimes. In 2012 it was learned that, during the course of her employment at Hinton, Dookhan improperly tested substances, intentionally altered test results, falsified reports, and falsely testified at criminal trials. Dookhan participated in the testing of over 80,000 samples, affecting over 20,000 cases. She was eventually prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned. The Hinton Drug Lab was closed due to Dookhan’s egregious misconduct and the mismanagement of the lab in general.

Legal Recourse:

Many of the defendants who believed their cases were affected by Dookhan’s misconduct have asked courts to vacate their convictions by filing motions for new trial.

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has created special frameworks for evaluating motions for a new trial in cases where Dookhan was directly involved in the testing of the substances and signed the certificate of analysis (the “drug cert”).

If you have such a case:

      • The Court will presume that Ms. Dookhan committed serious misconduct in your case
  • If you pleaded guilty the Court will examine the specific facts and circumstances of your case and determine whether it is reasonably probable that the evidence of Dookhan’s misconduct would have altered your decision to plead guilty.
  • If you went to trial, the court will examine the record of your trial to determine whether the admission of a drug certificate signed by Dookhan (or testimony by Dookhan) had more than a slight effect on the jury.
  • A prosecutor might or might not oppose your request. If your request is successful, your conviction will be undone or “vacated.”
  • If a court vacates your conviction, the prosecutor might then agree to dismiss your case. If this happens, the conviction will be cleared from your criminal record.
  • If a court vacates your conviction, a prosecutor may choose to re-prosecute your case. If this happens, you will not have to face any charges in addition to those of which you were already convicted.
  • If you are re-prosecuted and are later convicted, you will not have to face any punishment in addition to what you already received. In other words, you will not be penalized for exercising your rights.

What you can do if you have a drug conviction dating from 2003-2012:

      • Click here to submit an inquiry electronically.
      • Alternatively, you can contact the Drug Lab Crisis Litigation Unit (DLCLU) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) at 617-445-7581 or fill out and return a lab case inquiry form.
      • The DLCLU can determine whether Dookhan analyzed the substances at issue in any of your drug cases.
      • If Dookhan was involved in your case and you are determined to be indigent the DLCLU can represent you.
      • If you are an attorney and would like to refer a case to our unit, please fill out and return a lab case referral form.
      • Also, the DLCLU can determine whether another chemist, Sonja Farak, who worked at the Hinton Drug Lab from 2003-2004, tested substances in any of your cases. This is relevant because there is evidence to suggest that Farak also improperly tested substances while working at the Hinton Drug Lab. If the substances in your case were tested at the Hinton Lab and Farak signed the certificate of analysis, you may also move to vacate that conviction. If you are determined to be indigent the DLCLU may represent you in that case.


Drug Lab Crisis Litigation Unit
7 Palmer Street, Suite 302
Roxbury, MA 02119
Main: (617) 445-7581
Fax: (617) 427-1320

Office Hours (Monday – Friday): 9:00am – 5:00pm

Our office entrance is located on Palmer Street which connects Washington Street and Harrison Avenue in Roxbury. A 2 hour parking lot is located adjacent to building; off street parking is also available. We are also a three minute walk from the Dudley T Station. See T schedule/routes near you

Attorney in Charge

Nancy J. Caplan (617) 516-5815

Administrative Assistant

Veronica G. Barros
Direct Line: (617) 516-5831
Office Hours: M-F 9:00-4:30pm


Daniel D. Jaffe
Direct Line: (617) 516-5824

Staff Attorneys

Matthew Harper-Nixon (617) 516-5031

Benjamin F. Leatherman (617) 516-5836

Patricia E. Muse (617) 516-5805

Andrew M. Pappone (617) 516-5832

Christopher K. Post (617) 516-5825