This is Why You Can’t Trust “Experts” and Lab Results at Trial

Via The Daily Bell

Massachusetts courts have had a bad year.

A Massachusetts lab technician, Sonja Farak, came to work high every day for 8 years. Well technically, sometimes she arrived sober but was soon high as a kite.

She worked in a lab that tested drugs confiscated from arrested suspects. Of course, she wasn’t supposed to personally test the drugs… that was what the lab equipment was for.

In 2014 Farak was sentenced to 18 months in prison and was released in 2015. It took another three years for the courts to toss 11,000 convictions tainted by the worker.

That is right, the people that Farak helped wrongly convict stayed in prison for another three years after Sonja Farak was released.

There is now a $5.7 million civil case against Farak, brought by Ronaldo Penate, who was convicted using her testimony. On the day Sonja tested the drugs involved in his case, she had smoked crack in the bathroom in addition to taking acid or LSD. The man served over five years in prison based on her trippy testimony, before his conviction was vacated.

In addition to Farak, Penate names as defendants former state attorneys general and other bureaucrats who exacerbated the fiasco by allegedly trying to cover up or gloss over the extent of the chemist’s drug abuse.

Managers also ignored conditions at the outlier lab in Amherst, which gave Farak free rein to raid the drugs in her care over many years, court records say.

Farak will join in motions to dismiss, based on the general argument that Penate likely would have been convicted even if jurors learned Farak was using drugs on the job.

But that was just the latest.

Last year, a Massachusetts court had to vacate 21,000 drug convictions due to one state lab employee.

First, Annie Dookhan lied about her qualifications in order to advance her carer as an expert witness. She was testifying at trials, getting people thrown in jail, without any actual expertise on topics on which she testified.

Then, Dookhan committed fraud by falsely certifying that inert substances were illegal drugs.

The Dookhan was convicted in 2013, but the cases she worked on were not vacated until 2017.

The drug convictions — which spanned the seven counties of Suffolk, Essex, Bristol, Middlesex, Plymouth, Norfolk and Cape & Islands — had relied on the doctored lab results of Annie Dookhan, whose misdeeds came to light in 2012 after she forged a colleague’s initials. The employee with the state Department of Public Health had lied about having a master’s degree, declared untested drug samples as positive and otherwise committed massive fraud in order to advance her career and build a reputation as an expert witness in drug trials.

In 2013, she pleaded guilty to 27 counts, including evidence tampering, perjury and obstruction of justice, and was sentenced to three to five years in prison, with two years of probation, according to The New York Times.

She was paroled after three years and released from prison before the sentences of those she helped convict were vacated. That’s because, despite the clear wrongdoing, the state still fought against dismissing the cases tainted by Dookhan’s lies.

Carl Williams, staff attorney for the ACLU of Massachusetts, said his organization faced resistance and had to sue the district attorney’s office to bring about the thousands of dismissals. He stated in a phone interview that this, “the largest dismissal of criminal cases based on a single court filing in history,” is part of a systemic problem involving prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and jailers.

“This is the war on drugs,” Williams said of the larger implications of Dookhan.  “Over 24,000 cases from eight years, and they called her superwoman because she was doing the bidding of the system of mass incarceration and the war on drugs.[“]

This is the justice system in the Land of the Free. 

The war on drugs is bad enough when it ensnares those guilty of victimless crimes. But it hits another whole level when corrupt officials add thousands of innocent victims based on false and tainted lab reports.

The amount of lives these two individuals have ruined is staggering. 32,000 people were added to the ranks of the victims of the war on drugs, because of the false testimony of two individuals.

And then there are the countless hours and dollars wasted putting these people through the justice system, and more to clean up the mess–or try to sweep it under the rug.

One person should never have that sort of power over the fates of so many. Criminal cases should never rest on the testimony of one witness who could so easily lie to selfishly advance her own career. Or one witness who is a worse drug addict than the people she was convicting.

And even though these two women were revealed as frauds, how many other lab workers out there are lying or getting high on the job? How many others mess up a test when they have a hangover, and accidentally send someone to jail for a decade? How many are testifying as experts without the qualifications?

These are just people, with all the faults and weaknesses. Being a government employee doesn’t magically make someone trustworthy, or eliminate the possibility that they are a drug addict, a power-hungry liar, or even just make honest mistakes from time to time. Yet because of their words, tens of thousands of people are thrown in cages.

You could say justice was served in the end, but not for the thousands of people who already served their prison sentences, or who may have stood a better chance of defending themselves at a trial not tainted by false statements and fabricated government testimony.

Yet another reason to end the war on drugs.

But the real lesson is that the justice system is far from the immaculate bastion of honor and objectivity that people like to pretend.

You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

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Ace Ventura Shillinlikeavillan Wed, 04/25/2018 - 06:29 Permalink

You're assuming she stuck to using only the drugs pertinent in a given evidence file she was 'examining'. This reads more like she was probably doing coke/crack in the restroom and then going about her case files, with the occasional 15 minute break for another quick snort or acid-drop.

In other words, she was essentially partaking of her choice of substances from among the many sent to her facility. In any event, would you be OK with her 'expert testimony' sending someone you know.....or prison?

On a tangential note, this is what makes this entire 'war on drugs' such a criminal farce. The state is....right from the a default 'pro-conviction' mode. Prosecutors get the money, prestige, career-advancement, and eventually political power. Defenders are usually cast-offs working pro-bono (in the case of the average joe). Prosecutors get to come after Joe with the unlimited funds of the victimized taxpayers at large.....defenders have no such bottomless pit of money to draw from to pursue a case.

The system is broken down to its foundations. Once the government decides to come after're goose is cooked regardless of such quaint notions of 'guilt or innocence'.

In reply to by Shillinlikeavillan

jin187 Ace Ventura Wed, 04/25/2018 - 08:23 Permalink

OJ is a perfect example of this.  Sure, the man is probably guilty of the murders, but the entire case hinged on DNA that was collected by prosecutors that lied, had been caught making racist remarks, and were obviously gunning for him before they ever collected a shred of evidence.  Luckily, the man had as much defensive firepower as the prosecutors had offense, and the corrupt system lost.  Fast forward to the robbery ten years ago, and we had another judge give him 5 times the sentence a first time offender would normally get in a case like his.  Probably 10 times if you factor in his age.  I know people with murder, terrorism, and voluntary manslaughter convictions, that got out in less time than he did.  Of course it had nothing to do with punishing him for escaping the system the first time.

In reply to by Ace Ventura

swmnguy jin187 Wed, 04/25/2018 - 09:41 Permalink

Prosecutors are politicians.  They face the voters.  They absolutely use the machinery of the State to advance their careers.

There's a reason prosecutors "win" over 90% of their cases.  They're allowed to charge multiple felonies, sometimes mutually contradictory in some ways, in order to dismiss certain charges to coerce a guilty plea.  When facing multiple lifetimes in prison, an innocent person will accept a mere large chunk of their life in prison rather than near-certain life in prison.

Prosecutors are also allowed to use the media to taint jury pools, making every defendant out to be the next John Dillinger, with no restraint from judges.

Knowing how unlikely a defendant is to be acquitted, police and lab work don't have to be done completely, accurately, or even at all.  It's the rare defendant who has the assets OJ Simpson did to hire the quantity and quality of legal representation to face down a full-scale prosecution.

And of course, it's easy and a staple of the prosecutor's toolbox to frame a guilty man.  Yes, I'm convinced OJ Simpson was guilty.  And I'm also convinced he was framed.

In reply to by jin187

RightlyIndignent swmnguy Wed, 04/25/2018 - 09:57 Permalink

There is no law.  There is convenience and contrivance, nothing more.  Keep your head down, don't draw attention, and prepare, prepare, prepare.


No cavalry is coming to save you.  You, your family, your friends, and community is all you've got.  Take heart that even reading these words shows you've got a better chance than most.

In reply to by swmnguy

Abaco swmnguy Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:45 Permalink

No way OJ should have been convicted on the basis of the trial even though he definitely butchered Nicole and Goldman.  The prosecution was both corrupt AND incompetent.  As always, no misfeasance or malfeasance by any government employee is punished. Fuhrman makes a bunch of many as a commentator when his overt racism was central to the murderer getting acquitted.  The lab techs and detectives who played games with the chain of custody and made it REASONABLE to consider the possibility that evidence was being planted. None of them punished. None of them fired.  None of them sanctioned in any way.

We need far less government than we are afflicted with today.


In reply to by swmnguy

Abaco holmes Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

The jury was right the first time.  The prosecution, through a combination of corruption and incompetence, failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that OJ did the killing.  No doubt you are the kind of fucktard who would walk in for jury duty thinking that the defendant wouldn't have been arrested if he didn't do anything wrong and every word of every cop should be believed because no cop ever lies in court.


OJ should have gotten the death penalty in the 2nd case for being such a fucking idiot.  Who beats a double murder rap and then commits a robbery to get back old trophies?  Dumb fuck should have moved to the DR and banged hookers and played golf on his $300K pension the Goldman's couldn't touch.

In reply to by holmes

Hubbs Ace Ventura Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:53 Permalink

Sounds like State Medical Boards and their co-conspirators State Physician Health Programs  (PHP) sending physicians for anger management ( the "disruptive" physician has become the new convenient "racyis" accusation) to  funny farms where the hapless physician is treated as a drug/alcohol abuser even though drugs/alcohol were never an issue, never hinted at, never identified, never charged. These facilities give kickbacks to PHP. These funny farms have beds to fill after all. It is a very lucrative gig.

"Pee in the container doctor, attend AA meetings, participate in the 12 step program, attend Cadeuseus. Oh, and because you subscribed to Playboy magazine for 1 yr  back 10 years ago, you have to attend sex therapy. You are a sex addict. BTW, we don't have an anger management program. You are a drug abuser /alcoholic who is in denial. Your bill for your mandatory 3 month in house treatment will be $50,000."


North Carolina Medical Board,  NC Physician's Health Program this means you!

In reply to by Ace Ventura

DisorderlyConduct Cardinal Fang Wed, 04/25/2018 - 08:28 Permalink

Well, hmmm. If the guy was handling crack and did not wash his hands, the cashew testing positive makes perfect sense. The tests are sensitive.

It's not like dealers are known for being the smartest (or cleanest) people around. Or are you saying that a completely innocent person who never touched drugs was the target? Then it could simply be a setup by the cops. But to imply that the lab was wrong is assuming a lot.

In reply to by Cardinal Fang

swmnguy DisorderlyConduct Wed, 04/25/2018 - 09:45 Permalink

The tests are also wrong at times, too.  There are many cases of the tests delivering ridiculous false-positives, reacting to other substances that are not narcotics.

No, we're rarely talking about the best and the brightest among us falling prey to this sort of thing.  Many of these people are indeed guilty of something; just not necessarily that with which they are charged.  And they usually can't purchase decent legal representation.

The heart of the problem is that Law Enforcement, representing in theory We The People, is supposed to be better than the criminals.  We used to say, "Better 10 criminals walk free than 1 innocent man convicted."  We almost never say that anymore.  That re-embrace of the Royal Prerogative is a bad sign for the United States.

In reply to by DisorderlyConduct

Bemused Observer Stuck on Zero Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:10 Permalink

Or we can just stop all the drug testing and use the labs to test ACTUAL CRIMINAL EVIDENCE only. Refer all drug cases to the appropriate medical treatment facility where they BELONG.

The ONLY drug related cases that should be referred for criminal prosecution are those involving cartel-heads and addicts or users ought to be run through the criminal justice system, which is totally INAPPROPRIATE to handle these cases, unless these is actual crime involved. For instance, taking a drug should not be a crime, but robbing someone to get the money to buy the drug IS. So, convict for the robbery, but refer for the addiction.

People need to get their CRIMES straight here! Taking drugs is NOT a crime, being a lazy, do-nothing loser who spends his days surrounded by a haze of pot smoke is NOT a crime. Using a substance 'recreationally' on one's day off, at one's own home, is NOT a crime. Getting high for the sheer HELL of it, because you CAN, and where it harms no one but the user, is NOT a crime. 

That isn't to say these things are GOOD, most probably aren't. But they are NOT CRIMES!

Hell, being an ignorant yokel with a nasty racist streak isn't very good either, but that alone won't put him in jail. Not unless he actually HARMS someone else. Being a ranting leftist harpy with a social justice agenda is not good, but again, not a jailable offense. Being a dangerously naive millennial snowflake who craves diversity and 'safe spaces' is definitely not good, but as annoying as they are, jailing them would be overkill, and a mis-use of the criminal justice system.

We don't have a 'drug problem'. We have a 'control-freak' problem, one that stresses everyone else out, strains the economy, and INCREASES the likelihood that the weaker among us will succumb to their demons. The self-appointed drug warriors have become actual 'carriers' of the disease of addiction! You CAN'T boycott, ban, sanction, persecute, etc, all of those things that make you uncomfortable. There is no 'right' to be free from discomfort. And you CAN'T marginalize, imprison or execute all those who practice those things that make you uncomfortable. Grow up...the world is a very complex place, and understanding and controlling all of it is way above your pay grade, so just focus on your own shit, live and let live.


Of course, the whole basis of the 'War on Drugs' is the notion that having an 'unearned good feeling' is a criminal act against those who insist that such feelings may only be bestowed upon those deemed deserving, after much work and sacrifice, and in rigidly-controlled 'doses'. The idea that someone can just 'serve themselves when they want' fills these ones with outrage, and they move to criminalize the behavior and establish themselves as the moral authorities on the matter.

A similar thing happened when anti-depressants became popular. The psychiatric community went ballistic, citing these new drugs as an 'easy way out' of a problem that requires time, dedication and discipline to solve. They went all 'gloom and doom' on how this was going to lead to all sorts of ills. It turns out they were probably right, but at the time what they were really upset about was that they were losing their monopoly on helping the patient feel better, and that patients would now choose to bypass the doctor altogether and just take care of themselves with these little pills, or maybe something else altogether.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

True Blue Tue, 04/24/2018 - 18:05 Permalink

When you have a system of 'justice' designed to profit from the 'transgressions' of your own citizens, this kind of corruption is inevitable. The FBI faked an entire branch of 'forensic science' for decades with 95% of their bullshit fakery supporting the prosecution; it is corrupt from top to bottom.

'Justice' is a thing of the past, now it is 'Just-Us' and we're just serfs and slaves to them.

VWAndy Tue, 04/24/2018 - 18:06 Permalink

 Walk the drug testing dogma around the block for yourself folks.

 Answer a few good questions. Like

 Could it be gamed in any way. yes

 Who could benefit by gaming it. everyone involved

 Why. $$$

 Is their a practical way to validate independently. No?


Trogdor Tue, 04/24/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

Hey - who cares if they destroyed lives!  They're wymyn!  Wymyn are never wrong - and they certainly never do Evil shit! /s

I guess it's just more of that "female oppression" that they served ultra-light sentences and walked away scot-free .... more than can be said for people who might have been convicted illegally and lost everything they had. 

There is no place in Hell hot enough ....


lakabarra Tue, 04/24/2018 - 19:58 Permalink

The more you read the more you know how criminal our rulers are. All people convicted for drug use can now claim not guilty, because the same could have happened to them. Watch how the shares of prison companies go down!

snblitz Tue, 04/24/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

At least in the examples given truth won out in the end.

My successful company was assaulted by the IRS several times over about 18 months.  "Joan" was the local IRS agent.

The IRS simply seized our bank accounts without any notice.  We only knew when checks started bouncing.

After about 30 days we got the money back after proving to Joan that her claim against the company had no basis in fact.

A few months later the IRS grabbed the bank accounts again, and we again proved their claims false.

After the third time the vendors simply stopped doing business with us because as innocent as we might be they did not care.  Do you imagine the IRS reimbursed us for all the bounced check charges or lost business?

The next time everything was taken we were no longer talking to Joan in the local office, but to the IRS Problem Tax Payer Resolution group in San Diego.  Joan had reported us as basically criminals.

I shut down the company and the IRS kept everything.

About two years later Joan appeared on the cover of the business section of the San Jose Mercury News and the article discussed how she had been fired from the IRS and had spent the prior years randomly destroying businesses across the Bay Area because see was basically insane.

Did I get my money or my company back from the IRS?

A letter of apology?

Did I get a call from the IRS is the Problem Resolution group?


Bemused Observer snblitz Wed, 04/25/2018 - 10:29 Permalink

So, in the end, you lost everything, and they seized it.

Putting the emotion aside for a moment, ask yourself something. If you had known how it would all end, might you have decided to be more aggressive? Like closing up shop, and throwing the resources at a kind of legal 'blitz attack' at the IRS, to either win or to cause as much collateral damage as possible on your way out? The IRS most definitely does NOT expect that from their targets, they work on the assumption that they are holding a gun to the head of a hostage that you will do anything to save.

The last thing they expect is for you to just shoot right through that business in order to plant one right between their eyes.

If they were gonna take it anyway, why not make them spend it all right then and there?

In reply to by snblitz

Jasher Tue, 04/24/2018 - 20:52 Permalink

16 If a false witness rise up against any man to testify against him that which is wrong;

17 Then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges, which shall be in those days;

18 And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother;

19 Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.

Come On Puu See stacking12321 Wed, 04/25/2018 - 04:23 Permalink



In reply to by stacking12321

Jasher Tue, 04/24/2018 - 20:58 Permalink

15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

Reaper Tue, 04/24/2018 - 22:21 Permalink

All government employees/witnesses are incentivized to lie.   Juries are chosen for their ignorance.  They imagine the police/FBI/judge/prosecutor/forensic examiner act honorably, when their system rewards their corruption.  The rogue OJ jury correctly knew who not to believe.  

rlouis Tue, 04/24/2018 - 22:27 Permalink

How many of the victims of these two women were women? 

Unequal sentencing between genders for the same "crime" is worse than among races.

mccvilb rlouis Wed, 04/25/2018 - 06:24 Permalink

In a discussion about what percentage of men were capable of committing murder I asked my female police captain friend what she thought was a reasonable ballpark estimate for women. I had speculated 90% of men and less than fifty percent of women are. Her response? 99% of women. I thought she was joking. She wasn't. 

In reply to by rlouis

roddy6667 Tue, 04/24/2018 - 22:41 Permalink

If I were any kind of defense lawyer, I would put everybody on the prosecution's team under the microscope. So many people lie on their resume that it wouldn't be hard to find some kind of "expert witness" or police official with bogus credentials.