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BadChemistry

Annie Dookhan And The Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis

Coakley: Dookhan ‘Appeared To Be Proud’ Of Her Work

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THE STATE HOUSE — “Rogue chemist” Annie Dookhan may have had professional pride in mind when she allegedly misidentified drug lab evidence and committed other violations of protocol, according to Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“We can’t speculate on a motive, and to date we certainly do not have, as we have in other cases someone who had a drug habit for instance, or someone who was looking for a monetary gain. We don’t have that evidence in this case, other than that she purported to be an efficient effective worker, she had a caseload and was able to effectuate two to three times what other workers were doing, appeared to be proud of that in the sense that she was thinking she was an effective worker,” Coakley told reporters on Friday. “Obviously the result is completely the opposite. That the very thing she may have thought she was trying to do completely has upbraided the system and the trust in the system because of her behavior.”

Just before noon on Friday, State Police arrested Dookhan without incident at her home in Franklin, Coakley said. She was charged in Boston Municipal Court with two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of falsely pretending to hold a university degree.

The two obstruction charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years each, and the university degree charge is a misdemeanor with a maximum one-year sentence. Coakley left open the possibility that other charges could be filed.

“This is the beginning of the criminal investigation charging process,” Coakley said. She said she did not envision charges being filed against Dookhan’s colleagues at the lab, but said the investigation is ongoing.

“At this time we do not have reason to believe that criminal charges are imminent,” Coakley said. “We are continuing that investigation around others at the lab.”

Dookhan pleaded not guilty and she was released on $10,000 cash bail with a GPS tracking device and orders not to contact her former lab colleagues, according to the AG’s office. She was given a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. The terms were agreed to by the defense, according to the AG’s office.

Coakley said Dookhan’s actions had injured more than the defendants; they have damaged the integrity of the entire criminal justice system.

“I believe in a criminal justice system where both victims and defendants will be treated fairly,” Coakley said.

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