In early January 2012, Robert Annunziata was convicted of trafficking almost half a kilo of crack cocaine in Massachusetts and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison as a result. However, when evidence of serious impropriety on the part of one of the expert witnesses used by the prosecution in securing Mr. Annunziata’s conviction came to light, James Powderly, his attorney, was able to secure his release only 10 months into his sentence.
The testimony of chemist Annie Dookhan of the Jamaica Plain State Laboratory was integral to the state’s case against Annunziata, so when it later surfaced that she had been on suspension for serious misconduct when she provided testimony in Mr. Annunziata’s trial, his continued imprisonment could no longer be justified. According to Mr. Powderly, this revelation has done “lasting damage to the integrity of the Massachusetts justice system.” This error is particularly notable in light of the fact that Massachusetts has some of the harshest drug laws in the nation, making any problems with Mr. Annunziata’s trial and conviction particularly damaging.
You can read more about Mr. Annunziata’s release and the controversy surrounding Ms. Dookhan here.