Florida Chemist Joseph Graves has resigned from his post at the Pensacola Lab Facility after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launched a criminal investigation. Mr. Graves is accused of switching illegal drugs with over the counter legal pills. Missing pills in one evidence locker spurred the investigation that continues to uncover more and more counts of employee theft. Graves is suspected of switching out illegal prescription painkillers for harmless over the counter brands.
In order to prove a defendant guilty of a drug crime the state must prove the substance was in fact a drug. They do this by testing the substance at a lab. Then there are chain of custody procedures to ensure the integrity of the test. Because of Graves’ actions have called into question the validity of evidence in 2600 cases spread over 80 agencies and 35 counties in Southern Florida. Lawyers have told Associate Press that they intend to appeal their cases. These cases may be thrown out in court or their defendants may receive lesser sentences than previously assigned.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will not be affording Graves the same clemency as the cases he caused to be reopened. She will be seeking “the most severe penalty under Florida law.” Bondi says that their state has been working hard for three years to tackle the prescription drug problem and will not be lenient to the one man who stands to ruin it all.
This is not an isolated incident. In Massachusetts two chemists resigned and one is in jail for five years for mishandling evidence.
Patrick Donovan is a criminal defense attorney in Massachusetts. Attorney Donovan has represented people in both district and superior court and has appeared in over fifty Massachusetts courts. If you have been charged with a crime contact attorney Donovan today for a free no obligation consultation.