Earlier this year, a lab technician for the New Jersey State Police was alleged to have falsified results in a marijuana case, calling into question close to 14,800 criminal cases on which he worked. This could have a significant impact on many drug cases throughout New Jersey, as experienced NJ marijuana lawyers know.
New Jersey Police Lab Technician Accused of Falsifying Marijuana Test Results
In January 2016, State Police lab technician Kamalkant Shah was suspended without pay after being caught “dry-labbing” — a legal term used by NJ marijuana lawyers meaning falsely identifying a substance as marijuana without conducting the proper tests and analyzing the sample.
The director of the Division of Criminal Justice, in a letter to county prosecutor’s offices, stated that “Mr. Shah was observed in one case spending insufficient time analyzing a substance to determine if it was marijuana and recording an anticipated result without properly conducting the analysis.”
The controversy surrounding the Shah incident is coming to light again after recent news that surfaced revealing that a New Jersey State Police sergeant was accused of tampering with records in a DWI case.
How Important Are Lab Results in Marijuana Cases?
In criminal cases in which physical evidence must undergo analysis, NJ marijuana lawyers usually rely on a crime lab. If it is suspected that the lab, technicians, or procedures for testing are unreliable, your attorney can call attention to it in court and have the evidence thrown out, which could lead to the case being dismissed by the judge altogether. That’s why it is imperative that you hire an experienced drug attorney to fight in your corner.
Concerns About Re-Testing Drug Evidence
The prosecutor office involved in the Shah investigation announced that they will be submitting specimens for re-testing, but only for drug cases that are still open. Most of the specimens so far have come up positive for the drugs that Shah had identified, but concerns could be raised about re-testing evidence using the same procedure Shah used. Some NJ marijuana lawyers have looked into challenging the current testing protocol itself.
What remains to be seen is how this recent controversy will impact closed drug cases, especially ones in which the specimens submitted for testing were already discarded or destroyed.
What Impact Could This Have on New Jersey Drug Convictions?
The fake lab results accusation has called into question thousands of drug cases Shah worked on. He worked as a forensic scientist in Little Falls since April 2005, and was responsible for testing samples from:
- Bergen County
- Essex County
- Morris County
- Passaic County
According to reports, New Jersey state authorities are expecting potentially thousands of cases to be re-opened by NJ marijuana lawyers, although it remains to be seen how many defendants will see their cases overturned.
For Top-Notch Legal Representation, Contact Experienced NJ Marijuana Lawyers
If you have been charged or convicted with marijuana possession, you need someone who is well-versed in New Jersey drug laws and knows how crime lab testing procedures could affect your case.
The NJ marijuana lawyers at Andres Mejer Law Office are experienced in many areas of criminal defense, and will work tirelessly to develop a solid defense strategy tailored to your individual needs. Call 888-582-6146 today for a free consultation and learn about what options are available to you.