Annie Dookan is a chemist who tampered with evidence at her job working for a Boston state crime lab over the course of nine years.
Her actions have caused 20,000 Massachusetts criminal drug cases to be thrown out.
This is the largest number of drug cases to ever be tossed out in United States history because of the actions of one person. This scandals completely obliterated people’s trust in the state’s criminal justice system.
Many people could have been unfairly convicted of drug offenses. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made its decision to dismiss most of the convictions that came from the lab where Dookan worked.
Dookan tried to make herself seem more efficient at work, so she got into the habit of identifying evidence as illegal narcotics without ever testing it. Her actions ruined a lot of peoples lives. She should have thought more carefully about what she was doing.
Hopefully, there are no other laboratory technicians like her out there. This really ruined the trust of the American people in the police force.
“Today is a major victory for justice and fairness, and for thousands of people in the commonwealth who were unfairly convicted of drug offenses,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, which represented many of the defendants during the appeal process.
“The victims of this crisis waited far too long for justice. It shouldn’t have taken years of litigation by the ACLU, public defenders, and pro bono lawyers to address this stain on the Commonwealth’s justice system,” Segal said. Prosecutors in Massachusetts’ Suffolk County, which includes Boston, said on Tuesday they had opted to stand by the prosecution of just 1.5 percent of the cases they had brought involving Dookhan.
“The average defendant has more than 60 entries on his record,” County District Attorney Daniel Conley said, referring to the cases his office would still pursue. “They are neither low-level nor non-violent, and they stand at the intersection of drugs and violence.” Those cases also rely on evidence not linked to the now-shuttered lab where Dookhan worked, Conley said.