Nearly 8,000 New Jersey Criminal Cases in Jeopardy
New Jersey state police say a lab technician falsified the results in a drug case last December, causing nearly 8,000 drug convictions in New Jersey to come into question. The technician, Kamalkant Shah, was apparently observed by investigators writing test results for a substance that he never tested, a process known as “dry labbing.” Shah was relieved of his duties on December 10, and has remained suspended without pay ever since, though it is believed that he has officially retired. He has not been charged with a crime.
Though Peter Aseltine, a spokesperson for the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, says that Shah was only observed fabricating evidence on one occasion, law enforcement officials and prosecutors fear that the acknowledgement of wrongdoing by Shah may provide ammunition for thousands of convicted drug offenders to have convictions thrown out. Aseltine said that the Attorney General’s office has identified every case Shah provided evidence on during his ten-year stint with the North Regional Lab Drug Unit, and have advised all county prosecutors of the concerns, asking them to notify defense attorneys.
Whether or not the disclosure will have a significant impact on past convictions depends on a number of factors, according to defense attorneys. If defendants pleaded guilty, there will likely be little effect. Likewise, if the defendant admitted that the substance was an illegal drug, or if there was other evidence sufficient to convict, the falsification of the report will have little consequence.
Contact Mallon & Tranger
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone in New Jersey who faces criminal drug charges. For a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-780-0230 for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.