Scandal at MA Crime Lab: Chemist Arrested

The judgment of thousands of cases hang in the balance following the arrest of a Massachusetts chemist who has been accused of forging paperwork, mixing samples and faking the results of drug tests at a police laboratory.

The arrest of Annie Dookhan has cast a doubtful shadow on many criminal cases. The 34-year old chemist is accused of mishandling drug samples, something that has forced three officials to step down. One of the officials is Boston’s public health commissioner. The Hinton State Laboratory Institute was also shut down in September.

The case has thrown many prosecutors off balance. So far, over a dozen drug defendants have been released. The defense attorneys point to Dookhan’s misconduct as they challenge charges their clients face. Many defendants are still expected to return to the streets following the revelations and subsequent closure of the laboratory.

Over 1,100 inmates are in jail because of cases where Dookhan was either the secondary or primary chemist. Dookhan worked at the laboratory for nine years, during which she tested over 60,000 drug samples that involved 34,000 defendants. 

Dookhan could be imprisoned for more than 20 years if convicted. She faces several charges, including pretending to have a university degree, which could make her go to jail for up to a year. She is also accused of obstructing justice, a felony that could make her face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

According to Attorney General Martha Coakley, Dookhan’s actions completely turned the justice system on its head, and she risked facing more charges following further investigations.

The chemist denied the charges and a judge gave her a bail of $10,000. She has been barred from communicating with both current and former workers at the lab. She was also ordered to submit to GPS monitoring and turn over her passport. She will go back to court on December 3, 2012.

Although Dookhan was quoted to have said it was her fault and she did not want the lab to suffer, her supervisors have been criticized for failing to relieve her of her duties when her co-workers first raised suspicions about her. She was suspended when she was caught forging the initials of her colleague in June 2011. Dookhan finally resigned in March 2012, and the Department of Public Health managed the lab up to July 1. The state police then took it over. 

However, it is still not clear whether any other person will be charged.

Are you a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal? You may be entitled to compensation. Find out if you have a case.

If you are a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal, complete the form on this page or call 1-800-420-1789 for a free no obligation consultation with one of our lawyers to discuss your case. 

Find out if you have a case.

If you are a victim of the MA Drug Lab Scandal, complete the form on this page or call 1-800-420-1789 to find out if you may be eligible for compensation.
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