Faked lab result in New Jersey drug case puts nearly 8,000 convictions in doubt

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A state lab technician for New Jersey allegedly faked results in a drug case, casting doubt on the 7,827 criminal cases on which he worked, NJ.com reported.

Kamalkant Shah, who worked as a technician for the State Police evidence laboratory, was found to have "dry labbed" suspected marijuana, according to a Feb. 29 memo to Public Defender Joseph Krakora from Deputy Public Defender Judy Fallon. Shah's essentially accused of making up data, NJ.com said.

"Basically, he was observed writing 'test results' for suspected marijuana that was never tested," Fallon said in the memo.


According to the memo, Shah was employed with the lab from 2005 to 2015.

"In an abundance of caution, we have identified every case that Shah worked on since he began working in the North Regional Lab Drug Unit in 2005, and we have notified the county prosecutors, advising them to alert defense attorneys in those cases," a rep for the Office of the Attorney General told NJ.com. "There are a total of 7,827 cases statewide, with the largest numbers being in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic counties."

In 2012, a drug technician in Massachusetts was found to have falsified thousands of test results. In 2013, a drug technician in Texas was found to have faked results, resulting in at least 20 convictions being overturned.

Shah has not been charged with any crime, and is believed to have retired, NJ.com reported.


Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.