Single justice to hear legal challenge in Mass. drug lab cases

A single justice of the state's highest court is set to hear from prosecutors who are challenging the way lower courts are handling thousands of drug convictions now in jeopardy because of alleged misconduct by a state chemist at a drug-testing lab.

Justice Margot Botsford has scheduled a hearing Wednesday morning, when she will also hear from defense attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.

Chemist Annie Dookhan has been accused of faking test results and tampering with evidence in drug cases.

Essex County prosecutors are challenging whether special magistrates have the authority to put sentences on hold and release convicted drug dealers while their new trial motions are pending.

Botsford will decide whether to send one or more of the cases to the full court.