U.S. News


Ex-Chemist Gets 3-5 Years For Tampering With Drug Tests

A former Massachusetts chemist pleaded guilty Friday to tampering with evidence and falsifying drug tests.
Posted at 6:44 PM, Nov 22, 2013

A former Massachusetts state chemist has been sentenced to 3-5 years in prison for mishandling evidence and falsifying drug tests in a case that shook Massachusetts' criminal justice system to the core.

Annie Dookhan, a former employee at the Hinton state lab, pleaded guilty on Friday to 27 counts of tampering with evidence, perjury, obstruction of justice and falsely claiming a master's degree. (Via WHDH)

Dookhan was arrested in September 2012 after investigators questioned her abnormally fast turnaround on lab results. The chemist admitted to falsifying lab reports so she would seem more productive. (Via New England Cable News)

At least 34,000 cases have been compromised due to Dookhan's involvement.

WBUR reports the state has been scrambling to recover after the scandal, setting up special courts to review the so-called "Dookhan" cases. More than 1,100 cases have already been retried, and more than 300 prisoners have been released under heavy parole.

And the chief counsel of the state's public defender agency told The Boston Globe it could take years to fully assess the impact of Dookhan's tampering.

"The work goes on to identify the thousands of individuals who've been affected directly by Annie Dookhan's conduct."

Prosecutors had initially pushed for a 7-year sentence for Dookhan, while her defense attorney argued she deserved only a year in prison. Dookhan will serve two years probation following her release.