Kris Foster From 'How to Fix a Drug Scandal' May Still Face Legal Consequences

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Women's Health

  • Kris Foster was one of the assistant attorney generals accused of hiding exculpatory evidence in Netflix's How to Fix a Drug Scandal.

  • The former assistant attorney general was last known to be working for Massachusetts' alcoholic beverage commission.

  • Foster may be facing disciplinary action for her actions during Farak's investigation.

Netflix's new docuseries How to Fix a Drug Scandal is about way more than former drug lab chemist Sonja Farak's years-long addiction to the drugs she was testing everyday. Instead, the documentary from director Erin Lee Carr (Mommy Dead and Dearest, I Love You, Now Die) also dives deep into the legal aftermath of everything that went wrong after Farak's misconduct was exposed—including what was essentially a coverup by the attorney general's office to minimize the scope of how many drug cases were affected by Farak's behavior.

There were several players in the coverup, but Kris Foster, assistant attorney general at the time, may have played one of the biggest roles in delaying the reexamination of cases tried using results from Farak's testing. Due to her own inexperience and orders from her superiors, Foster refused to turn over exculpatory evidence (meaning evidence that could cast doubt on a defendant's wrongdoing) to defense attorney Luke Ryan and his colleagues.

Foster was responsible for rejecting a subpoena that would have granted Ryan access to evidence providing an accurate timeline of Farak's drug use and evidence tampering. The reality was that Farak had been using for years, but the attorney general's office only dated it prior to the six months before she was arrested, greatly limiting the number of drug cases the defense attorneys could argue for.

In legal cases, the government is required to share all exculpatory evidence, and here, it failed to do so. Foster is now facing consequences for her actions. Here's everything you should know about Foster, including what she's up to now.

So... where is Kris Foster now?

Foster was last known to be working as general counsel for the state's alcoholic beverage commission, per the Washington Post, but there is no word on whether she is still in that role.

Foster's conduct in the Farak case is also being reexamined. In 2019, the Board of Bar Overseers in Massachusetts issued a petition for discipline against Foster and her colleagues citing that they had violated rules "requiring honesty, diligence and fairness" by deliberately withholding evidence, according to The Washington Post.

Though an assistant attorney general at the time Sonja Farak was facing trial for evidence tampering, Foster was very inexperienced.

Foster had only been on the job for about six months when she was assigned to the Farak case. At one point, she appeared in court and admitted that she had not personally reviewed all the evidence, even though she had expressed to attorney Ryan that she had already turned all of it over.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

When Foster was asked to go back and reexamine the evidence in its entirety, she told the court that all of it had indeed been turned over to Ryan, even though that really wasn't the case. There was exculpatory evidence within the files that had yet to be turned over.

Foster was eventually accused of wrongdoing by the court.

In 2017, a Hampden County superior court judge found that Foster and her superior, Anne Kaczmarek, also an assistant attorney general during Farak's investigation, had both committed "a fraud upon the court," per the Boston Herald.

The hearing revealed email correspondence between Farak and her colleagues which allegedly proved that there was some sort of coverup going on, and that her boss Kaczmarek actually held disdain for Ryan and purposely withheld evidence from him.

Despite Kaczmarek's attempts to withhold evidence, Ryan was eventually able to inspect countless pieces of paperwork, which the attorney general's office labeled as "assorted lab paperwork."

The paperwork held dates and detailed descriptions of Farak's drug use and personal life. Ryan was then able to use the paperwork to accurately date back Farak's drug use to around the time she first started working in the Amherst drug lab, eventually leading to the dismissal of more than 35,000 convictions.

Originally, only 8,000 drug convictions were overturned. Watch this news story to learn more about the scandal:

When questioned about her actions during the hearing, Foster said that she was simply working under orders from her bosses, according to Rolling Stone.

Ryan and one of his clients attempted to launch a civil rights suit against Foster.

In 2017, Ryan and his client, Rolando Penate (who was sentenced to seven years for allegedly selling heroine) launched a civil rights lawsuit against Foster and other officials involved in suppressing evidence in Farak's case. However, Foster's attorney argued that she had prosecutorial immunity, to which the federal magistrate agreed.

Penate was freed after serving about five and a half years of his sentence. His conviction was overturned—one of the many cases that were reexamined following the discovery of the real timeline of Farak's drug use.

Still, Foster continues to face a case for disciplinary action from the state's Board of Bar Overseers, and what will happen is yet to be determined.

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