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A WBUR SPECIAL REPORT

BadChemistry

Annie Dookhan And The Massachusetts Drug Lab Crisis

Mass. Republicans Seek Drug Lab Oversight Board

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BOSTON — The state Senate’s Republican caucus is calling for the creation of a drug lab board. The board would oversee all criminal forensic services in Massachusetts.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr says the board would aim to prevent problems like those caused by the alleged drug tampering of former state chemist Annie Dookhan.

Tarr said he hopes the board will remedy what he called a “systemic failure.”

“If somebody has a suspicion, they come forward with it and something is done, before we have the kind of damage that’s been done here, which borders on irreparable in terms of our criminal justice system,” he said.

Tarr added that many of the people who would be on the board are already in government oversight positions, so costs would be minimal.

“This is not an expensive venture,” he said, “and it’s certainly not expensive compared to what we’re going to spend in the tens of millions of dollars that’s been done in the Dookhan case.”

Tarr said he plans to file legislation this week to establish the board, and he hopes Democrats on Beacon Hill will cosponsor the bill.

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October 23, 2014

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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.

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