A class of criminal defense attorneys and inmates in Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) seeking to stop the department from using a defective, defective drug test. from Sirchie Acquisition Company, LLC. Did the DOC use the defective proof on the legal mail sent to the DOC structures ?? which, during the pandemic, has often been the only means for lawyers to communicate with their clients ?? and has resulted in a plethora of false positive results.
As detailed in the complaint, the class of legal professionals, including dedicated public defenders directly employed by the Commonwealth, have been subjected by DOC to repeated systemic and false accusations. Worse, detainees were subjected to harsh punishments, imposed scandalous fines, and deprived of family visits, all based solely on the repeated false positives generated by these defective Sirchie texts.
?? “We are carrying out this process to protect the disempowered people imprisoned by the DOC from the unconscious decision to use these tests in the face of overwhelming evidence of their inaccuracy,” ?? said Ellen Leonida, partner of BraunHagey & Borden. ?? “We also intend to make pharmaceutical companies responsible for knowingly profiting from the abuse of these tests and the misery they cause. ??”
Impossible choice for detainees
Sirchie’s tests purport to detect synthetic cannabinoids, but according to the complaint, the test is marred by harmless chemicals present in most commercial newspapers, such as letters and envelopes that many inmates receive from their lawyers. The complaint resembles the accuracy of the tests to sorcery, phrenology or simply picking up a number from a hat. ?? A DOC employee estimated that these tests had a false positive rate of up to 80 percent.
Once a test is positive, the DOC gives a prisoner a choice:
If the accused person wrongly challenges the punishment and the results of the tests, requesting that the results be verified by means of an appropriate laboratory test, the DOC adds penalties, including significant fines and costs and paying both the cost of the test. adequate laboratory and tests in the future.
1) Convict yourself of a false offense and accept the punishment or
2) tell the truth and be subject to isolation and loss of privileges for months while the DOC does a proper lab test.
Up to 80% false positives
Because of the frequency of false positive results from Sirchie tests used and invoked by the DOC across the state, are inmates afraid to communicate even with their court-appointed counsel and have been denied their legal mail? ? its main form of communication during the pandemic ?? instead of risking punishment from the DOC based on these false positive results.
As stated in the complaint, DOC’s use of these texts interferes with key constitutional rights, including the right to counsel and the fundamental process. In particular, the DOC continues to punish incarcerated persons only on the grounds that they have been appointed as the recipient of legal mail who has failed these defective Sirchie tests, even though the DOC is well aware that the incarcerated person was unable to participate in creating or sending the allegedly tainted legal mail.
In addition to the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, the lawsuit also named Sirchie Acquisition Company, LLC and its sales agent Premier Biotech, Inc. as defendants. The plaintiffs ’classes are represented by BraunHagey & Borden and Justice Catalyst Law, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to providing redress to those who have been denied equal access to justice.