• Inmates hoping drug lab problems will lead to freedom


    Bay State inmates serving hard time on drug charges are hoping the massive state drug lab snafu will help them overturn convictions and return to freedom, one inmate told FOX Undercover's Mike Beaudet.

    That inmate, Frank Barrett, already beat one case after the chemist at the center of the firestorm didn't show up to testify because she had resigned.

    Barrett is serving 7-and-a-half years in prison after being convicted last December on another drug case, but he's hoping chemist Annie Dookhan will be his ticket out.

    "She was the senior chemist on two of my certificates and if she botched the rest of these people's drugs, what makes you think she didn't botch these," Barrett said in a phone interview from Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.

    Dookhan worked as a chemist in the state's drug lab in Jamaica Plain from 2003 until her resignation in March, handling more than 60,000 drug samples, including samples from Barrett's case. She maintains her innocence, according to her husband.

    Court records show she was listed as a witness to testify at his trial at Suffolk Superior Court that ultimately landed him in prison.

    "I would love to get a new trial. I would love them to investigate my case, look into the matter and see if she did anything to cause me to be unjustly prosecuted or convicted," Barrett said.

    The Suffolk County District Attorney's office would not comment on Barrett's case, but the Massachusetts District Attorney's Association has said that correcting any miscarriages of justice must be the first priority.

    Barrett's other drug case was thrown out of Dorchester District Court in April because of Dookhan, Barrett said.

    "When I went to trial, and she didn't show up, and she couldn't testify no more. And they threw my case out.  They dismissed my case," he said.

    It's an argument more and more defendants and their lawyers will be making.  Cases are being thrown into chaos as defense attorneys and prosecutors wait for the full impact of the drug lab problems to be known.

    In one small example, public defender Kelly Cusack asked to push back the trial for her client, accused drug dealer Paul McCarty, all the way until April to allow time to see whether her case will be affected.

    "It is a drug case from the Jamaica Plain lab so we're looking to set the trial date and then pick a status date in order to determine what discovery comes out of the investigation into the lab," she told Suffolk Superior Court Magistrate Connie Wong at a hearing earlier this week.

    Barrett says the state lab has fellow inmates at his prison buzzing.

    "I don't know how many people in this block. But everybody's looking to see if this woman is part of their certificates," he said.

    As for him, he just wants justice.

    "That's all I'm asking for. That's basically what I'm asking for. For them to look back at my case and if it's a mistake that was done. Correct it," he said.

    Next Up: