DA Conley to Drop All “Farak Cases” from Department of Public Health Lab

Drug Lab Employee at Amherst DPH Facility Linked to 134 Suffolk County Cases

BOSTON, Nov. 30, 2017—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office today filed a list of 134 Suffolk County narcotics convictions that included as evidence a certificate of analysis by former civilian chemist Sonja Farak, notifying the state’s highest court that he will move to vacate and dismiss all of them.

Suffolk prosecutors provided their list of cases to the Supreme Judicial Court more than a year after providing similar data to the Committee for Public Counsel Services in a detailed, searchable spreadsheet. That data – which included defendants’ names, docket numbers, and other relevant information – was provided by Conley’s point person for the Farak cases to the CPCS attorney in charge of all drug lab litigation on Aug. 19, 2016.

Also in August 2016, Suffolk prosecutors affirmatively notified the SJC that they would not challenge a finding that Farak, a civilian employee of the Department of Public Health like Annie Dookhan, committed “egregious misconduct” as considered in the SJC’s Scott and Francis decisions. Those cases set the guidelines by which “Dookhan defendants” may attempt to withdraw their guilty pleas or vacate their trial convictions based on Dookhan’s actions at the DPH Hinton Lab. Neither Farak nor Dookhan was employed by a law enforcement agency; both were civilian employees at DPH facilities.

“Given the nature and extent of her misconduct, re-testing the substances at issue is unlikely to yield a reliable result,” Conley said. “The most appropriate step is to notify the court that we will not pursue any further litigation in any of the identified cases.”

Suffolk prosecutors approached the Farak cases using the framework set forth by the SJC’s January decision in Bridgeman v. District Attorney II. That decision called for prosecutors to identify those cases they would not re-prosecute if a motion to dismiss or vacate were successful, and those they could and would re-prosecute a case if the underlying conviction were vacated. In April, Conley’s office provided the Trial Court with a list of about 15,570 convictions to be vacated and about 117 to be re-tried if necessary.




All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.