Mansfield Police said that the current Dookhan case being tried in Boston will not affect most of their drug-related convictions.
“For a while we’ve been doing our own testing and we haven’t had to use [outside labs], Mansfield Police chief Arthur O’Neill said.
Mansfield detective sergeant Ronald Sellon said that many Mansfield Police officiers are currently certified to be expert witnesses in drug cases in regards to confirming a substance as an illicit material.
“It is not as prevalent with us as you would think,” Sellon said. “We took a proactive step a while back and we certified a large number of the police department in the use of drug field testing kits.”
Drug-related cases require chemical tests to confirm a drug-related arrest was valid. Sellon said field testing certification allowed Mansfield to skip sending substances to outside facilities.
“It eliminates much of the need with regards the requiring state certification,” he said. “They can testify as experts in field testing as to the validity of whether or not a substance is what it purports to be.”
Sellon said that while drug-related cases regarding Comcast Center concerts have been helped by this training and certification, it was not the primary reason they had for it.
“That step was very beneficial to us in regards to the Comcast Center,” he said. “But it was in response to the Melendenz Diaz ruling that came down about two years ago.”
The case, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court, stated that using field tests for drug convictions was a violation of the Sixth Amendment right of confrontation for a prosecutor to submit a chemical drug test report without the testimony of the person who performed the test.