Crime Lab Chemist Pleads Guilty

Remember that crime lab chemist from Massachusetts who got her entire lab shut down after it was revealed that she had faked the results of thousands of tests and thus may have put thousands of people in prison unjustly? She’s now pleaded guilty to those charges.

A chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab who admitted faking test results in criminal cases pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence in a scandal that has jeopardized thousands of convictions.

Annie Dookhan entered guilty pleas to the charges Friday morning in Suffolk Superior Court. She was then sentenced to three-to-five years in prison and taken in away in handcuffs.

Dookhan sent the state’s criminal justice system into a tailspin last year when state police shut down the state Department of Public Health lab she worked at after discovering the extent of her misconduct.

Prosecutors said Dookhan admitted “dry labbing,” or testing only a fraction of a batch of samples, then listing them all as positive for illegal drugs, to “improve her productivity and burnish her reputation.”

Yeah, how’s that reputation burnishing working out for you? I say the same thing here that I said of prosecutors and police officers who are proven to have faked evidence that puts an innocent person in prison: She should have to serve out their sentences. Whatever is the longest sentence of someone convicted on her fake analysis should be the length of her sentence. But the judge says she will get no more than five years in prison.

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  • Typical. I finally get my VCR programmed to record it and CSI Boston gets cancelled.

  • barry21

    Unbelievable. Imagine callously destroying lives -sending human beings into hell- for ambition’s sake.

    5 years is an insult to justice.

  • D. C. Sessions

    She should have to serve out their sentences. Whatever is the longest sentence of someone convicted on her fake analysis should be the length of her sentence.

    It’s awfully lenient of you, Ed, for letting the sentences run concurrently.

    On the other hand, there is a huge backlog of cases and not nearly enough lab techs. We need more of them with her proven productivity.

  • azportsider

    Hey, barry21, GW Bush sent thousands into hell for his ambition, and never served even a day in prison.

  • ethanol

    That isn’t a very long sentence, but I don’t imagine it will be a pleasant stay. She’s not likely to make a lot of friends.

  • Samuel Vimes

    One can hope she gets put in with some of the people she framed.

  • trucreep


    I lol’d

  • eamick

    Obstruction of justice is just too pedestrian for me. I much prefer the British term for it: Perverting the course of justice.

  • tomhuld

    I find it interesting that the original article never even mentions the possibility that somebody innocent was convicted because of the faked results. It’s all about how the convictions were jeopardized. Aww, poor convictions!

    That seems to be the general mindset: if you are accused you are guilty. I wonder if that contributed to the reasons why she did this stuff. Certainly everybody in the system wanted the tests to be positive, so why not just say they are?

    And BTW, I don’t agree that 5 years is a short sentence. It isn’t in my neck of the woods. There is no need for sentences to be longer than what is necessary to act as a deterrent.

  • I am increasingly opposed to absolute immunity and qualified immunity in our system of government. There is no real fear of consequences and frankly Annie Dookhan is was mirroring her social environment. Why change anything? They can get away with it, or not even really have to spend energy on learning how to do it right. So cops can totally see our rights and their responsibilities as inconveniences to scoring whatever “points” they are trying to earn in their head. Prosecutors are not worried about innocent people going to prison. Legislators are not worried about wasting time on clearly unconstitutional laws…

  • jnorris

    The FTB ad agency placed this ad above this article when I opened it:

    Forensics Class Near You

    Take Forensic Science Training Programs Online or Near You, Apply!

    Its as if they knew.

  • Artor

    In addition to her sentence, she should be liable for the costs of re-trying every one of the cases she jeopardized. 5 years and no fine is just a cherry on top of a huge miscarriage of justice cake.