Former Massachusetts state drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan is lucky to be out of prison. She was paroled last March after serving almost two-and-a-half years of her three-to-five year prison sentence. But the carnage she caused is still being sorted out. That’s what Massachusetts prosecutors, public defenders, judges, and others have been doing since it was discovered in 2012 that Dookhan falsified the results or tampered with evidence in thousands of drug lab tests.
Dookhan is a prosecutor’s nightmare. According to Masslive.com, she tested about 60,000 drug samples from 34,000 defendants during the nine years she worked at a state drug lab. That means she potentially affected the integrity of all of those cases—and the majority of them had to be reviewed.
Under a decision handed down last month by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state’s highest court, prosecutors have until April 18, 2017, to decide which compromised cases can be retried and which must be dismissed. More than 20,000 cases have been, and continue to be, reviewed.
By the way, in 2013, Dookhan pled guilty to tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, and perjury. In addition to her three-to-five year sentence (of which she didn’t even serve the minimum of three years), she was ordered to serve two years’ probation after her release. It’s too bad she isn’t responsible for the costs incurred during the five years it has taken to straighten out her mess of lies.