Decision Commonwealth v. Escobar

Date: 04/18/2018
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Commonwealth v. Escobar
Supreme Judicial Court, April 18, 2018
(Defendant’s Rights/Hinton Drug Lab)

The Court declined to rule that the Commonwealth has a duty to investigate the Hinton drug lab beyond what the Inspector General’s Investigation already produced.

 “The defendant, Justino Escobar, pleaded guilty to cocaine trafficking in 2009 and was sentenced to a term of from eight to twelve years in State prison.  In July, 2015, he filed a motion for a new trial and a related motion to conduct postconviction discovery, seeking to have his conviction vacated pursuant to

Commonwealth v. Ware, 471 Mass. 85 (2015), and Commonwealth v. Scott, 467 Mass. 336 (2014).  In his motions, Escobar argued that the Commonwealth had not fully investigated misconduct at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute (Hinton drug lab).  In his view, the Inspector General's investigation of the Hinton lab was incomplete because it did not inquire into whether any chemist other than Annie Dookhan had acted improperly.” 


“Although we decline to rule, at this time, on the issue whether the Inspector General failed to fulfil a duty or to thoroughly investigate the Hinton drug lab, we note that nothing in the current record suggests to us that the investigation was inadequate.”

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