Annie Dookhan And The Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis

Patrick Urges Collaboration In Lab Samples Case


BOSTON — Gov. Deval Patrick is urging prosecutors, defense attorneys and staff from various state departments to join forces to determine which potentially mishandled samples at a state lab pertain to people now behind bars.

In a letter on Tuesday to the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, Patrick, a Democrat, said collaboration will be needed to “prioritize the matters of defendants currently incarcerated” because the database for this evidence contains incomplete information.

Patrick proposed creating a special unit to aid in the collaboration.

The Boston drug lab was shut down after state police discovered a chemist failed to follow protocols in drug testing, potentially exposing thousands of drug convictions to legal challenges. The lab was involved in certifying drug evidence in cases submitted by local police in dozens of communities around the state.

Patrick on Tuesday debunked claims that 13,000 samples were “on indefinite hold,” saying the State Police Crime Lab in Sudbury will now handle testing.

Patrick’s response comes just days after the association penned a letter to him urging that the state ensures “justice is done” for the cases involved in the potentially mishandled samples. The district attorneys also pushed Patrick to take steps to disclose all information relevant to the investigation into the handling and to prioritize the cases of incarcerated people.

Patrick ordered the Boston lab shut down last month. The chemist resigned in March during an internal investigation, and two supervisors have been suspended. State Attorney General Martha Coakley has launched a criminal investigation.


Latest News

March 5, 2014

SJC Sets ‘Presumption’ Of Misconduct In Dookhan-Related Guilty Pleas

BOSTON — The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday that defendants seeking to withdraw guilty pleas because their cases were handled by disgraced former state chemist Annie Dookhan must indicate they would have insisted on a trial if they knew about her malfeasance.

March 4, 2014

Dookhan Was Drug Lab’s ‘Sole Bad Actor,’ Report Says

BOSTON — “However … deficiencies at the Drug Lab created an atmosphere that allowed for [Annie] Dookhan to commit her crimes,” the state inspector general wrote in his review.

February 21, 2014

Boston Doctor Chosen For New National Effort To Reform Forensic Testing

BOSTON — With the Massachusetts Inspector General expected to release his report on the state drug lab crisis any day now, a local doctor is part of a new national effort to reform forensic testing.