Netflix’s ‘How to Fix a Drug Scandal’ tells the story of Sonja Farak and Annie Dookhan, the chemists at the Amherst lab, and the Hinton lab, respectively, who caused a stir in the justice system after their crimes came to light. For years, Dookhan had done everything from dry-labbing the samples to tampering with them, just to keep her “superwoman” façade alive.
Farak, on the other hand, found herself falling to the severity of her addiction that led her to not only consume the drugs that she was testing but also create her own batch in the lab! When Farak’s blunder was revealed, the prosecution tried to contain it. But Luke Ryan didn’t let go of it until all their lies came tumbling down. He brought down the system with it, but that’s the cost of securing justice. Who is this man, and where is he now? Let’s find out.
Who is Luke Ryan?
Law runs in Ryan’s family and to get justice for the oppressed is something he cares a lot about, which is why when he had a hunch that something was wrong with the whole Farak debacle, he didn’t stop until the truth was out and the machinery of justice had started kicking again. Sonja Farak was the one who signed the certificates that sent two of his clients- Rolando Penate and Rafael Rodriguez- to prison. When Farak was arrested, the prosecutors claimed that her misdemeanor did not extend beyond a few months.
However, that did not sit well with Ryan, who knew that the lives of his clients depended on the exposure of the true scale of Farak’s addiction. He expected the prosecution to forward him everything crucial to the case, but the documents that actually proved how far back Farak’s actions went were kept hidden from him. He fought to see the evidence for himself, and it was after a couple of years of tug-of-war, which even led to his own name being tossed around as a troublemaker, that he finally got his hands on the documents. Once that happened, all bets were off.
Where is Luke Ryan now?
Luke Ryan might have become more famous after his work in unraveling the many layers of injustice in the wake of the Farak case, but he had been a well-known figure in the circle long before that. A graduate of Western New England Law, he has dabbled in criminal defense and civil rights litigation since the beginning of his career. He has collaborated with American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and the Center of Constitutional Rights.
He has also been involved with organizations like the Performance Project, Out Now, and Arise for Social Justice. He was awarded Lawyer of the Year in 2017 by Mass Lawyers Weekly. He had joined the firm as an associate, but in 2011, he became a partner, adding his name to Sasson, Turnbull, Ryan, and Hoose. He currently works from his office in Northampton, MA. The story of him uncovering the miscarriage of justice in the Farak case was featured in Rolling Stone in 2018, in the article by Paul Solotaroff.
On behalf of Penate, he filed a lawsuit against Foster and Kaczmarek, along with a number of other people that were a part of keeping the truth in darkness. He sued the prosecutors as “evidence custodians who mishandled crucial evidence.” He has also become more cautious in the way he handles cases like Penate’s and has since decided to be more aggressive regarding his approach towards the state chemists.
He thinks “we all have a reason, particularly those of us who work defending people accused of drug crimes to be skeptical about the quality of the forensic work that’s being done.” Even though major changes have been made in the way forensic labs operate after the Farak and Dookhan scandal, Ryan believes that there is still a long way to go to establish goodwill with the credibility of these institutions.
Read More: Where is Sonja Farak Now?