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Sloppy forensics, drug skimming, and prosecutorial misconduct forced Massachusetts to throw out 47,000 convictions.

“I suspect that if another entity was in the mix”—perhaps the inspector general or an independent investigator—”the Attorney General’s Office would have treated the Farak case much more seriously and would have been much more reluctant to hide the ball,” Ryan writes in an email.

One reason that didn’t happen, he says: “the determination Coakley and her team made the morning after Farak’s arrest that her misconduct did not affect the due process rights of any Farak defendants.” Because the attorney general had “portrayed Farak as a dedicated public servant who was apprehended immediately after crossing the line, there was also no reason…to waste resources engaging in any additional introspection.”

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