• Making a federal case of it


    (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - One of the first concepts law students learn is called the fruit of the poison tree. In simple terms, itmeans that evidence obtained from an illegal arrest, unreasonable search, or coercive interrogation must be excluded from trial. The fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine is also intended to deter police from using illegal means to obtain evidence. It is one of the pillars of our legal system.

    If you apply this principle to the ever expanding state drug lab scandal, we just took two big bites out of two bad apples. What makes this worse is that chemists Annie Dookhan and Sonya Farak were part of the system that's intended to test the veracity of evidence. Yet, these two women are charged with poisoning the tree.

    I hate to say I told you so, but… Actually, I now wish I had never said, "How many more Annie Dookhans are out there?"

    It was part of my commentary during last Thursday night's 6:30 p.m. newscast. That morning, Governor Deval Patrick was interviewed by Gene Lavanchy. The night before, the governor delivered his State of the Commonwealth and asked for an increase in the state income tax. I was making the point that you should never ask for more money if you can't prove you have been a good steward with the taxes I already paid.

    Accountability and oversight, these two things are becoming scarcer in the Patrick administration than common sense on MTV's Buckwild. The governor is asking for 1.9 billion more dollars from our pockets to feed a monster that is out of control. A monster that now has two chemists charged with evidence tampering.

    Dookhan and Farak are part of a long chain that is the prosecutorial arm of the state's criminal justice system. This same system is now investigating itself. It's time to bring in an outside arborist, the feds, before this tree bears more poison fruit.

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