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Author Topic: Chemist Annie Dookhan Arrested - Evidence Tampering - Massive Drug Scandal  (Read 4331 times)
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« on: September 28, 2012, 12:37:41 PM »

http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220928chemist_in_drug_lab_scandal_taken_into_custody/srvc=home&position=0
Chemist in massive drug lab scandal arrested
September 28, 2012

Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist at the center of a lab scandal which could overturn hundreds of drug conviction, was arrested by state police this morning.
 ::snipping2::
Dookhan is charged with two counts of obstruction of justice and falsely pretending to hold a degree from a college or university. She will be arraigned at Boston Municipal Court this afternoon.

Dookhan, a former chemist at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute, “is alleged to have lied about the integrity of drug evidence that she analyzed at the lab in two instances,” according to a statement from Attorney General Martha Coakley. She is also alleged to have lied under oath about having a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, according to the statement.

 ::snipping2::

Dookhan, who admitted to police she “messed up bad” and confessed to forging colleagues’ signatures, sneaking evidence out of a drug safe and tainting samples for years, has thrown cases against 34,000 defendants into jeopardy and created chaos in the state and federal courts in recent weeks.

The growing scandal forced Gov. Deval Patrick to close the Hinton State Laboratory Institute, the Jamaica Plain facility where Dookhan worked, last month. Patrick has appointed former prosecutor David Meier to review cases in which Dookhan tested drugs. Meier has said 1,140 people are currently behind bars based on evidence handled by Dookhan.

Dookhan had been “intentionally turning a negative sample into a positive a few times” and in some cases, classifying drugs without testing them for at least several years, according to her interview with state police last month.

Dookhan, who also falsely testified during a drug case that she had a master’s degree, resigned in March amid an internal probe by the state Department of Public Health as the agency was set to turn over control of the lab to state police

 ::snipping2::
« Last Edit: January 20, 2013, 06:26:26 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2012, 04:52:59 PM »

http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/09/28/arrest-warrants-issued-for-chemist-heart-state-drug-lab-scandal/CWKCO8JdmvCf7WlrbY5pPK/story.html
Bail set at $10,000 after arraignment of Annie Dookhan, chemist in state drug lab scandal
September 28, 2012

The chemist at the heart of the state drug lab scandal that has sent shock waves through the Massachusetts criminal justice system would alter drug samples, sprinkling real cocaine in with a non-drug substance in order to make the test turn out positive, a prosecutor said today in court.

Annie Dookhan also admitted she would grab a pile of 25 samples, test about five, and then list them all as positive, said Assistant Attorney General John Varner.

Varner spoke as Dookhan, whose mishandling of evidence over a multi-year period may ultimately undo thousands of drug convictions, was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court.

Judge Mark Summerville set bail at $10,000, which her attorney said she expected to post today. Once free on bail, she must turn over her passport and wear a GPS monitoring device. She can have no contact with her former colleagues and must be in her house from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Another hearing was set for Dec. 3.
 ::snipping2::

Attorney General Martha Coakley said at a news conference before the arraignment that Dookhan’s actions had “corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system.’’

“This is the beginning,” Coakley said, noting that Dookhan faces more than 20 years in prison if given the maximum for the obstruction of justice charges and 2½ years for falsifying her academic record. “This is not the end of the charging. ... Her actions totally turned the system on its head.’’

Coakley said that Dookhan has cooperated with investigators, and the only motive that has so far emerged for her actions was Dookhan’s goal to be considered an effective worker at the Jamaica Plain drug lab.

“We have not identified a motive,’’ Coakley said, noting that in other cases of evidence mishandling suspects had drug problems or needed money.

Coakley said she did not currently anticipate criminal charges being filed against any of Dookhan’s co-workers at the now-closed Department of Public Health lab, but also said a sweeping investigation into the lab was underway.

Coakley said defendants were tried based on tainted evidence and the public as a whole has been victimized by Dookhan. “People absolutely deserve a system they can trust,’’ Coakley said, adding that repairing that trust “is going to take time and it’s going to be a complicated project.”
 ::snipping2::
At least 20 drug defendants have been freed, had their bail reduced, or had their sentences suspended, because the evidence in their cases was analyzed by Dookhan. Many more are likely to be freed as the investigation continues by attorney David E. Meier, named by Governor Deval Patrick to determine the scope of the scandal’s impact.

Dookhan told State Police she recorded drug tests as positive when they were negative “a few times” and sometimes tested only a small sample of the drug batch that she was supposed to analyze, the Globe reported this week, based on the State Police report.
 ::snipping2::


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« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 05:02:25 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 02:20:04 PM »

This is a horrible situation.  How can a person do something that will adversely affect so many other individuals.  I don't know what kind of punishment she is facing, but it will not be retribution for her blatant disregard of the impact of her actions upon others.   
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« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 01:10:45 PM »

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061165254&pos=breaking
Rapist disappears after bail was lowered due to lab scandal
October 4, 2012

A suspected cocaine dealer and convicted rapist freed on $1,000 cash bail last month as a result of the deepening state drug lab scandal has vanished, prosecutors said today.

A warrant has been issued for Marcus Pixley of Boston, 52, after he failed to show up for pre-trial hearings in his case yesterday and again today. Pixley has an 11-page record of rape, armed robbery and other convictions for violent crimes.

Pixley, whose release Suffolk District Attorney Daniel Conley’s office opposed, faces a mandatory minimum of two and a half years in prison if convicted on pending indictments of resisting arrest and being a habitual offender.

Pixley was being held on $5,000 cash while awaiting trial, but his bail was reduced to $1,000 on Sept. 11 by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine M. Roach at the request of his lawyer while authorities examined the involvement of accused rogue chemist Annie Dookhan in the testing of drug samples in his case.
 ::snipping2::
Pixley’s adult criminal record, which dates back to 1977, also features convictions for rape, armed robbery, threats, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a public employee, larceny over $250, and breaking and entering at night with intent to commit a felony.

Pixley’s attorney, Veronica White, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 11:50:21 AM »

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chemist-mass-lab-scandal-refuses-testify-17442754
Chemist in Mass. Lab Scandal Refuses to Testify
October 10, 2012

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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 11:51:57 AM »

http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20221009man_withdraws_guilty_plea_in_latest_drug_lab_reversal
Man withdraws guilty plea in latest drug lab reversal
October 9, 2012

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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2012, 11:53:10 AM »

http://www.gloucestertimes.com/local/x2135069502/Crime-lab-case-threatens-sentence-reforms
Crime lab case threatens sentence reforms
October 9, 2012

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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 06:25:12 PM »

http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/01/double_dose_trouble_annie_dookhan_lab_scandal
Double dose of trouble in Annie Dookhan lab scandal
January 10, 2013

The rogue state drug lab chemist accused of jeopardizing tens of thousands of criminal drug cases faced court arraignments in Middlesex and Norfolk counties yesterday as the fallout from the case surfaced yet again — this time with the fresh drug arrest of a man who told cops, “I just got out on Annie Dookhan and I ain’t going back to jail!”

Annie Dookhan, 35, of Franklin, who authorities say tampered with drug evidence at the now-shuttered Hinton State Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, faces 27 indictments returned by a statewide grand jury last month. She has already been arraigned in Suffolk County, with upcoming arraignments in Essex, Bristol and Plymouth counties.

The scandal and Dookhan’s arrest last fall have resulted in about 200 defendants being released from jail, including Jonathan Vaughan, 26, who was arrested by Chelsea police Tuesday night after he was found drinking Natural Ice beer at a Bellingham Square McDonald’s.

Dookhan was the chemist who handled the evidence in Vaughan’s prior case, the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office confirmed yesterday.

Vaughan was sprung Dec. 14, midway through a 21⁄2-year stretch for his 2011 conviction on drug-dealing charges. He’s now facing new charges of drug dealing after police reported finding eight bags of crack cocaine in his pocket Tuesday night.

As Dookhan spent the day yesterday in two county courthouses, with dates ahead in three others, Dookhan’s attorney Nicolas Gordon told reporters yesterday that Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office offered to consolidate the cases in one venue, but he declined.

“It’s too early,” said Gordon, declining to elaborate on how trucking Dookhan from court to court might benefit his defense strategy.
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 07:14:39 PM »

http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/01/31/chemist-annie-dookhan-pleads-not-guilty-obstruction/8LSlUcGVCpXkSHYred9omI/story.html
Ex-state chemist Annie Dookhan pleads not guilty
January 31, 2013

BROCKTON — A former state chemist accused of faking test results at the Department of Public Health drug lab pleaded not guilty Wednesday to six counts of obstruction of justice, in a scandal that could jeopardize thousands of drug cases.

Annie Dookhan was indicted last month on a total of 27 charges accusing her of fabricating test ­results and tampering with drug evidence while testing substances in criminal cases.

Dookhan, 35, of Franklin, was arraigned Wednesday morning on five obstruction counts in ­Brockton Superior Court. She was arraigned later Wednesday on one obstruction count in Fall River Superior Court.

An estimated 200 convicted defendants have been released from jail and had their cases put on hold while their legal challenges are pending.
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« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 07:16:41 PM »

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/annie-dookhan-drug-lab-scandal-not-guilty-_n_2621928.html
Annie Dookhan, Chemist, Pleads Not Guilty - Again - In Drug Lab Scandal, Now Faces First Civil Lawsuit
February 4, 2013

SALEM, Mass. -- A chemist who used to testify for prosecutors stood up in a sixth Massachusetts courthouse Monday and again pleaded her innocence in connection with a state drug lab scandal.

Annie Dookhan's plea in Essex Superior Court on a charge of misleading the grand jury, prosecutor and judge marked the end of her half-dozen arraignments following a 27-count indictment.

Authorities have accused her of wrongdoing that includes fabricating drug test results and tampering with evidence while testing samples. They also allege she lied about having a master's degree in chemistry while testifying as an expert witness during drug prosecutions.

The 35-year-old Franklin, Mass., woman remained free on her prior bail of $10,000. Dookhan and her attorney declined to comment outside the courtroom. She is due back in court Friday for a pre-trial conference in Middlesex County.
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« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2013, 07:19:00 PM »

http://www.wbur.org/2013/02/08/leone-drug-lab-scandal-cases
DA Leone: Wider Range Of Drug Lab Cases May Be Dismissed
February 8, 2013

BOSTON — At least one Massachusetts district attorney expects to decide next week whether to dismiss a wider range of cases where drug evidence was tested at the now-closed Hinton lab in Jamaica Plain.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone says preliminary information from his team assessing drug lab cases shows that prosecutors may have to dismiss more cases, beyond those that relied on testing from former chemist Annie Dookhan.
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« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2013, 07:21:09 PM »

http://www.salemnews.com/local/x1874094445/Dismissal-could-allow-woman-back-in-US
Dismissal could allow woman back in US
Masconomet graduate was charged with possessing and distributing marijuana in 2006

March 1, 2013

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« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2013, 07:23:30 PM »

http://**/todaysheadlines/ci_22695618/public-health-department-seeks-30-new-staffers
Public Health Department seeks 30 new staffers
March 1, 2013

FITCHBURG -- The past year put in sharp focus the inadequacy of some areas of the Department of Public Health's regulatory and oversight abilities, and Interim Commissioner of Public Health Lauren Smith said Thursday that when she arrived -- after a deadly meningitis outbreak and the closure of a crime lab -- she engaged in a "frank and brutally honest introspection" with her staff.

One result of the introspection is a proposed $32 million budget increase at DPH, bringing the total amount to $549 million, which would allow for increased inspections and oversight of health care, hazardous-material and substance-abuse facilities. That would fund 30 new positions and send $1 million to the Board of Registration in Pharmacy, Smith said.
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2013, 01:13:24 PM »

Shameful, imo.  Dookhan got a slap on the wrist.    

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2013/11/22/annie-dookhan-former-state-chemist-who-mishandled-drug-evidence-agrees-plead-guilty/lhg1mwd9U3J8eh4tNBS63N/story.html
Annie Dookhan, former state chemist who mishandled drug evidence, sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison
November 22, 2013

Annie Dookhan, the former state chemist whose mishandling of evidence in drug cases threw the state’s criminal justice system into turmoil, pleaded guilty today in Suffolk Superior Court and was sentenced to three to five years in prison.

“You plead guilty here because you are guilty?” Judge Carol S. Ball said as she explained the rights Dookhan was giving up because of her guilty plea.

“Yes, Your Honor,” Dookhan said meekly.

Dookhan’s falsification of drug tests, in an attempt to look like a highly productive employee, prompted the release of hundreds of convicts, raised questions about thousands of cases, and forced the state to spend millions to address the problems

Ball, who found that Dookhan had entered her plea “freely, willingly, and voluntarily,” also sentenced Dookhan to two years of probation.

Dookhan, in handcuffs, spoke briefly with her l
 
Prosecutors had requested a five-to-seven-year sentence for Dookhan. Her defense attorney had argued for a maximum sentence of one year.

Sentencing guidelines called for a maximum sentence of three years for Dookhan, but Ball said in a ruling last month she wanted to impose a tougher sentence “given the magnitude of the harm she has done, considerations of general deterrence and, particularly, punishment.”

The judge said in the ruling that “the consequences of her behavior, which she ought to have foreseen, have been nothing short of catastrophic: Innocent persons were incarcerated, guilty persons have been released to further endanger the public, millions and millions of public dollars are being expended to deal with the chaos Ms. Dookhan created, and the integrity of the criminal justice system has been shaken to the core.”

Dookhan pleaded guilty to 27 charges, including evidence tampering and obstruction of justice. She worked at a now-closed Department of Public Health lab in Jamaica Plain.

A scientific determination that a substance seized by police is an illegal drug is a cornerstone of a drug case in court. A defendant cannot be convicted for possession or distribution of, for example, a harmless white powder.

State officials have said Dookhan’s actions may have tainted more than 40,000 cases.

Since last year, the state Department of Correction has released more than 300 people convicted in drug cases where Dookhan played a role. That number does not include anyone released by a county house of correction, the Globe reported last month.

Court records showed that more than 600 people have had convictions against them erased or temporarily set aside or have been released on bail pending new trials, the Globe also reported.

 
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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2014, 01:52:24 PM »

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Report-cites-rash-of-problems-at-Mass-drug-lab-5287676.php
Report cites rash of problems at Mass. drug lab
March 4, 2014

BOSTON (AP) — A chemist who admitted faking test results in criminal cases was the "sole bad actor" in a scandal that forced the shutdown of a state drug lab in Boston, but the facility also was plagued by management failures, inadequate training and a lack of protocols, a report released Tuesday found.

The lab, formerly run by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, was closed by state police in 2012 after chemist Annie Dookhan admitted she tampered with evidence and tested only a fraction of the samples she claimed to test while working at the lab. Dookhan is now serving a prison sentence of up to five years after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice and other charges.

The scandal threw the state's legal system into turmoil as the courts were flooded with requests for new trials and dismissal of charges in cases where Dookhan had tested substances turned over to the lab by local police departments.

In a report released Tuesday, Massachusetts Inspector General Glenn Cunha said his 15-month investigation found no evidence that any other chemists at the lab committed wrongdoing. But he said management failures by lab directors "contributed to Dookhan's ability to commit her acts of malfeasance."

"The directors were ill-suited to oversee a forensic drug lab, provided almost no supervision, were habitually unresponsive to chemist's complaints and suspicions, and severely downplayed Dookhan's major breach in chain-of-custody protocol upon discovering it," the report said.

The scandal led to the resignation of the state's public health commissioner, the resignation of a manager at the lab and the firing of another manager. The drug lab was located within the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in the Jamaica Plain section of Boston.

"What was plain well before the Annie Dookhan issue arose is that forensic work should not have been done at the Hinton facility. It should have been done at a crime lab," Gov. Deval Patrick said after the release of the report.

Cunha's report said the lab failed to provide potentially exculpatory evidence in criminal cases by not disclosing information about additional, inconsistent testing results. He said his office is now in the process of retesting approximately 2,300 drug samples to determine whether the results were accurate.

Cunha also found that the lab lacked formal and uniform protocols for many of its basic operations, including testing methods, caused in part by its lack of accreditation. His investigation also concluded that the lab's quality control system focused mainly on the functionality of the lab's equipment and was ineffective in detecting malfeasance, incompetence and inaccurate results.

Cunha said lab managers did not act decisively when other workers at the lab questioned Dookhan's work after it became clear she was handling a much higher volume of cases than any other chemist.

"Let's be clear, Dookhan's behavior did not go unnoticed," he said. "Those complaints fell on deaf ears."
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