Thousands of marijuana convictions undermined by lab tech’s fraud, officials say
A technician at a State Police police crime lab used by law enforcement agencies from around the state was found to have never properly processed suspected marijuana evidence — calling into question thousands of cases from over the past 10 years.
The Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, which manages the lab, said that Laboratory Technician II Kamalkant Shah wrote "test results" on samples without actually testing them.
This could potentially impact 2,100 cases in Passaic County over the past 10 years, when Shah worked for the lab located in Little Falls, according to the prosecutor's office. Shah was removed from case work in December.
A report by NJ Advance Media quotes state officials saying 7,827 cases could be affected throughout New Jersey.
"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," read a letter sent to all county prosecutors.
Public defender Joseph E. Krakora said that the prosecutor's office is still identifying cases Shah worked on and has not yet developed a policy on how to handle them.
"The larger, and unanswered, question is how this impacts already resolved cases, especially those where the specimens may have been destroyed," Krakora said.