A couple of weeks ago it was reported that a chemist in the state of Massachusetts was arrested for faking the results of hundreds of drug tests that she analyzed and also for lying that she had an advanced degree in chemistry. This case is important because the drug tests results the chemist submitted ultimately affected tens of thousands of convictions.
News about the arrest of Annie Dookhan has hit television, radio, newspapers and the internet. Media outlets such as CNN and The Wall Street Journal have picked up the story and are reporting about the impact the situation could have on the 34,000 defendants whose drug samples passed through the hands of Ms. Dookhan during her nine years of employment at Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston.
The article on this matter published on the Wall Street Journal states:
State police say Ms. Dookhan, 34 years old, tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab. Defense lawyers and prosecutors are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the fallout.
Since the lab closed, more than a dozen drug defendants are back on the street while their attorneys challenge the charges based on Ms. Dookhan’s alleged misconduct. Authorities say more than 1,100 inmates are currently serving time in cases in which Ms. Dookhan was the primary or secondary chemist.
Due to the accusations against Ms. Dookhan, the laboratory in which she worked has been shut down. Additionally, the state of Massachusetts’ public health commissioner and three other state officials have resigned from their jobs.
This situation has prompted drug defense attorneys as well as state prosecutors to figure out how to handle all of the cases that were affected by Ms. Dookhan’s actions. It is expected that at least some of the individuals originally convicted of drug-related crimes will have their convictions overturned. According to news outlets reporting on this story, there are more than one thousand people currently incarcerated for crimes that involved drug testing in which Ms. Dookhan was either the primary or the secondary chemist who provided analysis of evidence.
According to published articles, Ms. Dookhan is accused of the following:
- Mishandling drug samples
- Faking drug test results
- Forging paperwork
- Mixing samples at a state police lab
- Lying about having a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts
- Weighing drug samples without doing a balance check on her scale
- Incorrectly indentifying drug samples
- Identifying drug samples by simply looking at them instead of testing them
- Forging initials of colleagues
- Deliberately turning a negative sample into a positive for narcotics
She has been charged with obstruction of justice and pretending to hold a degree from a college or university. The first charge carries a maximum of a decade in prison and the second charge can result in one year in jail.
It has been reported that Ms. Dookhan does feel remorse for what she did. However, there are hundreds (and possibly more than a thousand) of people who are currently incarcerated as a result of botched lab tests.
If you have been charged with any type of drug crime or DUI in Denver, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney at Tiftickjian Law Firm, P.C. With offices in Denver and Aspen, the law firm’s defense lawyers can be contacted at (303) DUI-5280.