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A chemist who faked test results in criminal cases at a now-closed state drug lab was the “sole bad actor,” but “deficiencies” at the lab allowed her to get away with it, according to a report released Tuesday in Massachusetts.
Annie Dookhan is in state prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice for falsifying information on drug tests performed at the William A. Hinton State Lab. The Massachusetts Health Department closed the lab in 2012 after Dookhan admitting faking results, and thousands of defendants have asked for their criminal cases to be reopened.
In its report, the Office of the Inspector General charged that a top official at the lab “severely downplayed Dookhan’s major breach … upon discovering it.”
The report said the directors were “ill-suited to oversee a forensic drug lab,” and said the lab was bad at detecting “malfeasance, incompetence and inaccurate results.”
The report also said that training was “wholly inadequate,” and that the lab “failed to provide potentially exculpatory evidence to the parties in criminal cases” by not disclosing information about inconsistent test results.
But investigators concluded that Dookhan was “the sole bad actor,” and no evidence that any other chemist committed any malfeasance, “though many of the chemists worked alongside Dookhan for years.”
Dookhan was arrested in September 2012 and charged with obstructing justice and falsifying academic records. She had claimed on her resume and in sworn testimony to have a master’s in chemistry from a Massachusetts university, but school officials said she had never taken master’s degree classes there.