Update- NEIP Board Member Chosen to Lead Review of Cases in Crime Lab Scandal

September 27th, 2012

Updated 9/28/12
This afternoon former lab technician Annie Dookhan was arrested at her home in Franklin following a lengthy investigation into her mishandling of evidence at a Jamaica Plain drug laboratory. She is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Boston Municipal Court on two felony counts of obstruction of justice and one misdemeanor count of falsifying her academic record. NEIP is continuing to follow the situation and will update information as we receive it.

Originally posted 9/27/12
Major problems have emerged at the Hinton State Crime Lab located in Jamaica Plain after evidence emerged that a chemist working in the lab since 2003 was not following lab protocols and in some cases, may have deliberately tampered with evidence. Reports suggest that chemist Annie Dookhan worked on over 60,000 samples potentially affecting up to 34,000 criminal cases. By September 23, at least 11 defendants awaiting trial in drug cases had been set free due to the unreliability of the evidence used to convict them.

NEIP Board of trustee member David Meier has been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to head a committee tasked with reviewing and identifying cases linked to Dookhan’s work. Meier worked as a prosecutor in Suffolk and Middlesex counties for 20 years before working as a defense attorney for the Boston firm Todd & Weld LLP. During his time as prosecutor, he helped overturn the wrongful convictions of Donnell Johnson and Marlon Passley.

Meier announced that up to 1,150 convictions could be called into question based on problems in the crime lab. These convictions represent defendants who were convicted of crimes based on the drug evidence analyzed by Dookhan, and who still remain incarcerated for those crimes in state prison or county jail. In the coming days and weeks, Meier’s team will work to identify others incarcerated in federal prison, those in jail waiting to be tried and people who have been freed on bail.

NEIP will continue to follow this story and report on developments.