Kamalkant Shah, a laboratory technician for the NJ State Police, has been accused of faking crucial evidence in a marijuana possession case. Now New Jersey prosecutors and judges fear that many individuals currently serving prison sentences for drug convictions could be released because the drug evidence in their cases may also be deemed illegitimate.
Passaic County, Essex County, Bergen County, Sussex County and Morris County Drug Cases Affected
Shah worked on a total of 7,827 cases while employed by the New Jersey State Police. Moreover, the cases were spread across NJ, including Essex County, Sussex County, Morris County, and Bergen County.
According to Katherine Carter, the spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, the majority of potentially affected cases in Essex County NJ involve marijuana possession charges and lesser offenses typically handled in local municipal courts. Carter said that just nine of these drug cases are still active.
In Sussex County, 263 cases could be impacted by Shah’s alleged breach of professional conduct. Greg Mueller, the first assistant prosecutor for the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, stated that all pending criminal cases with drug evidence analyzed by Shah have already been submitted for new analysis.
New Jersey Drug Convictions Might Be Overturned
In some cases where defendants were convicted, it is possible that they will be able to file for post-conviction relief. This is a legal process that allows a defendant to challenge their prior conviction, with the remedy being an overturning of the conviction and any subsequent sentence.
Even defendants who have already served prison sentences could file for post-conviction relief and get their convictions thrown out. This would remove the drug crime conviction from their permanent record and allow them to avoid certain post-incarceration or parole requirements.
To learn more, view the NJ.com article, “Judge: We May Need to Let Prisoners Out over Lab Tech’s Faked Results.”
If you or a loved one has been charged with simple possession of marijuana, heroin possession, cocaine possession, prescription drug possession or any other drug offense in New Jersey, you need to talk to a qualified criminal defense attorney immediately. The experienced South Jersey criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of John W. Tumelty will help you fight your drug crime charges. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation about your case.