Massachusetts State House.
Policy Library

Committee for Public Council Services vs Attorney General

April 01, 2018

The BBA filed an amicus brief in support of measures to address future cases involving widespread prosecutorial misconduct in the litigation arising from the Amherst Drug Lab scandal, where chemist Sonja Farak had stolen and tampered with drug samples and tested evidence while under the influence of drugs for years, and where two prosecutors failed to disclose all relevant exculpatory evidence in the matter. The BBA filed its brief in response to the third question of the Single Justice’s Reservation and Report, as to whether additional prophylactic measures are appropriate. The BBA believes such measures are indeed appropriate, and necessary, to protect the integrity of the Commonwealth’s justice system.

The brief supports the Petitioners’ and Attorney General’s positions that Court should make permanent the Bridgeman protocol, the disclosure obligations for lawyers’ misconduct that may have tainted a case, and for disclosure obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963). In addition to these measures, the brief posits that “[the] Court should make clear that the prosecutor’s primary ‘responsibility [is that] of a minister of justice and not simply that of an advocate,’ S.J.C. Rule 3:07, Massachusetts Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC) 3.8, Comment ¶[1], by establishing, through standing order…a mandatory reporting obligation for every prosecutor who has knowledge or credible information of misconduct by anyone, lawyer or non-lawyer, on the prosecution team.” Read more about the case and the BBA’s brief here.