An investigation by the Massachusetts inspector general found that convicted former state chemist Annie Dookhan was the “sole bad actor” at the state drug lab where she mishandled evidence. The Boston Globe says the probe also found that the lab had major management problems, raising questions about an additional 2,300 cases not handled by her. “The Drug Lab lacked formal and uniform protocols with respect to many of its basic operations, including training, chain of custody and testing methods. This lack of direction, caused in part by the Drug Lab's lack of accreditation, allowed chemists to create their own insufficient, discordant practices,” said Inspector General Glenn Cunha.
The 2,300 samples will be submitted for further testing to determine whether the lab's conclusions were accurate. Dookhan's falsification of test results raised doubts about tens of thousands of cases, throwing the state's criminal justice system into turmoil. The lab where Dookhan worked was shut down in 2012 after her crimes began to come to light. While recommending scrutiny of Dookhan's cases and calling for further scrutiny of some additional cases handled by the lab, the inspector general's report, which examined the lab's activities from 2002 to 2012, stopped short of saying all the cases handled by the lab should be reviewed. The state bar association, civil liberties activists, and defense attorneys disagreed. Dookhan was sentenced to three to five years in prison.