DOVER, Del. — A Delaware judge says offenders who pleaded guilty to drug crimes are not entitled to withdraw those pleas or have their convictions overturned because of an evidence-tampering scandal at the state drug-testing lab.

In a ruling this week involving eight defendants, the judge said there is no reason to not begin issuing denials in hundreds of other similar appeals from offenders who voluntarily pleaded guilty, rather than conducting individual fact reviews in each case.

After those denials, the court will decide how to handle remaining matters involving defendants who exercised their trial rights.

Last year, Delaware’s Supreme Court similarly refused to vacate guilty pleas of scores of drug defendants because of the lab scandal, which resulted in two arrests, the firing of medical examiner Richard Callery, and an agency reorganization.

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RANDALL CHASE
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