Massachusetts Department of Public Health Lab Technician Caught Faking Drug Tests, Over 40,000 Defendants May Have Been Affected

nursing certification.jpgA Massachusetts lab technician has admitted to faking results, tampering with evidence and routinely ignoring agency test protocols when processing tens of thousands of law enforcement lab tests. The technician, Annie Dookhan, was known for being the most productive chemist in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health laboratory and the go-to chemist for prosecutors trying criminal drug cases.
Prosecutors now believe that Dookhan’s stellar reputation was built on fraud. In 2012, the chemist informed Massachusetts state police that instead of properly testing all substances turned over by law enforcement, she would occasionally only test a fraction of the substances, yet verify that all of the substances were illicit drugs. Despite her admission, Dookhan has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Dookhan’s fraudulent testing has led to more than 330 inmates being released from custody in the last year, while over 1,100 cases have been dismissed due to tainted evidence. In the wake of the scandal, one manager at the lab and the state’s public health commission have resigned, while another manager at the lab has been fired.
In August, a lawyer appointed by Massachusetts’s governor to help create a database of Dookhan’s cases reported that more than 40,000 defendants may have been affected. The state’s public defender says the number of affected cases could be even higher because management and protocol lapses at the lab may have allowed other chemists to cut corners or falsify results. With thousands of challenges still making their way through the court system, many believe it will be years before all of the cases tainted by Dookhan are cleared.
Apart from seriously damaging the credibility of the Massachusetts justice system, Dookhan’s fraud has led to numerous violent crimes occurring after inmates were released from custody because their cases may have been tainted. In Boston’s Suffolk County, of the 240 defendants released because of the scandal over 60 have since been arrested on new charges. In one case, an inmate released from prison two years early murdered another man in a dispute over drugs. Two other inmates were killed in gang disputes shortly after their early release, while another was rearrested for exchanging gunfire with state police.
Dookhan’s scandal does make one point clear: the U.S. justice system in its entirety, including law enforcement, the court system, prisons and ancillary resources such as lab testing, cannot handle the enormous workload that the war on drugs produces, and corners are being cut on all fronts as a result.

DisclaimerThe information contain on this site and in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this post should be construed as legal advice from The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this Post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. Any and all communications as a results of this Post and/or this Site, is not secure nor confidential. Further, the mere initiation of any contact with The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm, staff, lawyer or a message on this post/site does not create an attorney–client relationship.

Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301.

Drug Related Charges may include: Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Controlled Substance, Possession of Dangerous Drug, Manufacturing a Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Delivery or Intent to Deliver Marijuana/Dangerous Drug/Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and many other drug related charges.