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Massachusetts drug lab scandal


Latest coverage

State ACLU urges court to dismiss all cases tied to Annie Dookhan

Saying that the state had failed over the past two years to coordinate a proper response to the scandal, the civil liberties group asked a Supreme Judicial Court judge to order prosecutors to determine within 90 days whether they want to pursue individual cases.

Dookhan sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison

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.

Attorney: Dookhan's life destroyed

Annie Dookhan’s attorney argued for a one-year prison sentence and said the ex-chemist, who allegedly mishandled state drug evidence, made a series of “tragic and terrible mistakes.”

'Dookhan defendant' rearrested

A Lawrence man who was released from prison because evidence against him was allegedly mishandled by state chemist Annie Dookhan was rearrested on new drug trafficking charges, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.

Scandal spills into federal court

In a telling sign that the Annie Dookhan state crime lab scandal has made its way into the US court system in Boston, a career criminal has asked that a federal judge scale back his sentence, based on the chemist’s involvement in one of his previous convictions.

Review: Annie Dookhan may have affected more than 40,000 cases

Governor Deval Patrick’s administration said it believes the criminal cases of 40,323 people may have been tainted by the actions of the alleged rogue drug lab chemist and the management failures at the now-closed Department of Public Health lab where she worked.

Man freed due to Dookhan case charged in Brockton murder

Donta Hood, 22, of Brockton, pictured, would have been behind bars, but he was free because his drug dealing conviction had been tossed out after it was discovered that disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan handled the evidence and testified at his trial, officials said. (5/17/13)

SJC mulls case procedures

Justices of the state's high court heard arguments on whether magistrates trying to unburden trial courts of a flood of drug cases tainted by a state laboratory scandal may release convicts on bail before they’re granted new trials. (5/9/13)

Second chemist pleads not guilty

Sonja Farak, 35, of Northampton, is charged with tampering with drug evidence at the Amherst state drug lab, the second state lab worker facing tampering charges. Her bail was set at $5,000. (Globe, 1/22/13)
1/20 AG: 2nd chemist tampered with drug evidence

Dookhan’s e-mails reveal her close personal ties to prosecutors

Annie Dookhan's e-mails over the last nine years, obtained by the Globe, vividly detail her close relationship with prosecutors, including a man to whom she poured her heart out, and her strong desire to put suspects behind bars. (Globe, 12/20/12)

Bigby to depart as part of Patrick Cabinet shakeup

Secretary of Health and Human Services JudyAnn Bigby will leave the Patrick administration. Her leadership has been under scrutiny following scandals at a state drug lab and a meningitis outbreak tied to a compounding pharmacy in Framingham. (Globe, 12/12/12)

Police warn of crime spike at legislative hearing

Law enforcement officials warned that the release of convicted drug offenders as a result of the drug testing scandal in a former state lab could lead to a spike in violent crime. (AP, 12/12/12)

Patrick: Public defenders’ $332m estimate of drug lab scandal costs overblown

Governor Patrick said the $332 million estimate is based on the cost of having to retry everyone convicted on drug evidence tested by the state’s tainted lab over the past nine or 10 years. (Globe, 11/28/12)

Nearly 200 released as result of drug lab scandal

Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan told lawmakers at a public hearing that while investigators are looking at about 34,000 cases overall, 195 individuals have been released, 79 in Boston. (Globe, 11/28/12)

Patrick orders chemist's cases reviewed

Governor Patrick has ordered a ‘‘file-by-file review’’ of every case handled by a Massachusetts chemist accused of faking test results at a now-closed government lab. (AP, 11/27/12)

Governor Deval Patrick taps Inspector General Glenn Cunha to investigate closed drug lab

Inspector General Glenn Cunha replaces Attorney General Martha Coakley in investigating the closed Department of Public Health lab where former state chemist Annie Dookhan, pictured, worked from 2003 to 2012. (Globe , 11/5/12)

For Mass. lab chemist, an unlikely road to scandal

Those familiar with Annie Dookhan from school and work are struggling to reconcile the Annie Dookhan they knew with the chemist accused of falsifying criminal drug tests. (AP, 10/15/12)
9/25/12 Dookhan apparently lied on resume

Drumgold acquitted of drug charges, but not because of drug lab scandal

Although Annie Dookhan refused to testify at his trial, a judge acquitted Shawn Drumgold on drug charges on the grounds that Boston police failed to link him to crack cocaine and heroin found in the kitchen of a Roxbury crack house. (Globe, 10/12/12)

Top judge: Mass. crime lab scandal could have impact on cases in federal court in Boston

US District Chief Judge Mark L. Wolf , pictured, said a team of court officials has discovered that former state chemist Annie Dookhan handled drug samples involved in more than 100 — and possibly as many as 200 — cases. (Globe, 10/11/12)

Special court sessions set up around the state to handle drug lab scandal cases

The sessions will be held for the purpose of assigning lawyers and “addressing the immediate liberty interests” of people serving time “in connection with a drug conviction stemming from a questionable drug analysis,” the court system said. (Globe, 10/10/12)

How chemist circumvented safeguards

Forensics specialists say the lab’s procedures appear to have been fairly standard but they were still not enough to prevent Annie Dookhan's rampant breaches of lab protocol, apparently to boost her performance record. (Globe, 9/30/12)
9/26/12 Dookhan to investigators: 'I messed up bad'

Meier: 1,140 people may be imprisoned due to tainted drug evidence

Former prosecutor David Meier made the estimate a week after being appointed to assess the extent of a state drug lab scandal. (Globe, 9/24/12)
9/12/12 Meier tapped to investigate drug lab

Outgoing DPH chief says he's 'furious' about drug lab scandal

John Auerbach, who announced he was resigning from the state Department of Public Health over the drug lab scandal, said he accepts "no responsibility for the actions of a rogue chemist.” (Globe, 9/19/12)

Drug lab scandal may taint Patrick's image

Governor Patrick finds himself grappling with the kind of crisis that has the potential to taint his national image and keep him bogged down in the details of governing. (Globe, 9/18/12)

Defense lawyers group: Dookhan tampered with evidence bags

Annie Dookhan tampered with evidence bags, altered the actual weight of drugs, did not calibrate machines correctly, and altered samples so that the would test as drugs they were not, a group for defense attorneys wrote to its members. (Globe, 9/9/12)

Personnel shakeup at troubled Mass. drug lab

One manager has been fired and another has resigned as a result of the widening investigation into a lab that was closed amid allegations that tests on tens of thousands of drug samples were mishandled, state officials said. (AP, 9/13/12)

State Police: Chemist at state drug lab probed

State Police Colonel Timothy Alben announced a drug lab in Jamaica Plan was closed after authorities learned a chemist breached procedures in handling drug evidence. (Globe, 8/30/12)