SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 2, 2012

Crime lab scandal hits area

One of first dismissals was in March on North Shore

(Continued)

There’s talk of a special session being created to handle all of the cases.

Until then, said Monahan, prosecutors are handling the matters on a case-by-case basis.

Among those cases is that of Andy Jones of Haverhill, who pleaded guilty last July to cocaine trafficking and firearms charges and is serving a six-year state prison term.

Last week his lawyer, Scott Gleason, filed motions seeking a new trial and a stay of Jones’ sentence pending the outcome of the motion.

Judge Howard Whitehead on Friday denied the motion for the stay, but on procedural grounds, meaning Jones will be able to ask again.

That same day, Salem District Court Judge Matthew Nestor opted to dismiss the pending case against Cedeno, 22, of Lynn, who was facing three counts of distributing heroin, after prosecutors said they were unable to go forward with the case.

Cedeno was arrested in December of 2010, after three transactions along Boston Street with an undercover Salem police detective. The sales were all for small amounts of heroin, $40 to $50 bags.

According to a police report, after the third transaction with an undercover officer, Salem police moved in and arrested Cedeno, who had nearly $600 in cash on him.

Cedeno was represented by Ray Buso, a Salem defense attorney.

A 2009 United States Supreme Court decision, Melendez-Diaz vs. Massachusetts, had led to the requirement that a lab chemist who tested the sample must testify.

After the original dismissal last March, the case was refiled, on the chance that another chemist could stand in. By then, not only was the extent of Dookhan’s alleged misconduct known, but she was being arraigned on criminal charges.

Buso could not be reached for comment.

Monahan called the task of going through all of the cases “herculean.”

“It is such an enormous, unprecedented amount of work,” said Monahan. “We’re pretty much at capacity as it is.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

 

 

 

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