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Annie Dookhan, a chemist at Jamaica Plane Laboratory, was arrested for forging tested results in up to 60,000 cases. According to a Massachusetts state police report she had used fake signatures and failed to abide by proper procedures.
“I screwed up big time. I messed up. I messed up bad, it’s my fault. I don’t want to get the lab in trouble,” admitted Dookhan in August to officials.
Dookhan would label drugs based on what she believed they were, and never tested them. Her actions have caused investigators to look deeper into the Jamaica Plane Lab, and call into question thousands of drug cases.
Dookhan told investigators she knew what she was doing was wrong, while one supervisor believed she was having a mental breakdown due to her ongoing divorce.
Anne Goldbach from Committee for Public Counsel Services said because Dookhan was in charge of quality control, other chemists in the lab could have received misleading test results.
“Fifty-thousand drug samples in question could mean numerous wrongful convictions, vacated sentences, dismissed cases, overturned convictions and so on,” said Goldbach.
Patricia DeJuneas, the defense attorney, was outraged by the supervisors under which Dookhan operated.
“I believe that no results from that lab are valid the entire time that she’s there,” DeJuneas said.
Several chemists that worked with Dookhan have admitted to reporting her actions to supervisors, but they failed to intervene or refused to retest her samples.
One supervisor noted that suspicion arose on the amount of drug samples Dookhan would complete in a month. An average chemist would complete 50 to 150 samples while Dookhan was completing 500 samples on average.
Judges have already begun to reduce bail and put sentences on hold for over 20 cases Dookhan was involved in, and several criminals have been released.
“People have lost their livelihoods, their houses, family, you name it. There’s been tens of thousands of people likely convicted based on compromised evidence,” said DeJuneas.
Dookhan refuses to comment further.