11/27/2012

Mass. state police lab shut down

The alleged misconduct of a chemist has threatened to unravel thousands of criminal cases

By Denise Lavoie
Associated Press

BOSTON — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered a "file by file review" of every case handled by a state chemist accused of faking test results at a now-closed government lab.

Annie Dookhan allegedly skirted protocols and manipulated drug samples at a former Department of Health drug lab where she worked for nine years. The alleged misconduct has threatened to unravel thousands of criminal cases.

On Tuesday, David Meier, a former prosecutor appointed by Patrick to sort through the legal mess, said the governor authorized a massive review of Dookhan's cases, estimated to number about 34,000.

Meier says his team has focused on about 2,000 defendants who are already in prison or awaiting trial.

Now, the focus will shift to Dookhan's remaining cases, mainly defendants who have already completed their sentences.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press

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