When it comes to criminal prosecution, making sure evidence is secure is always a vital piece of proving any criminal charge. However, when Annie Dookhan worked as a chemist in the Hinton State Laboratory in Boston’s historic Jamaica Plain neighborhood, she neglected to ensure that key evidence was secure. She is now embroiled in a Boston crime lab scandal.
Dookhan admitted to tampering and mishandling evidence for years. She confessed to sometimes recording drug evidence as positive when it was actually negative. According to Dookhan, she would take a handful of drug samples, only test one or two of them, then conclude that the rest of the samples were also positive. She also took samples out of the evidence room without signing it out.
As a result of Dookhan’s admission, the Hinton State Laboratory was forced to shut down and all 34,000 cases that Dookhan handled are now being reviewed. At least 100 people imprisoned by faulty evidence have already been released.
Defendants are Granted Freedom
While some defendants’ convictions can be upheld on gun or assault charges, for example, most drug cases in which Dookhan was the primary chemist will be impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, it is unclear where to draw the line. According to Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone, some offenders are arguing that every test from the lab where Dookhan worked should be considered tainted.
In another recent case, a defendant had their guilty plea withdrawn because Dookhan proved to be a secondary chemist in the case. The argument was that the lab was “pretty much wholly and fully contaminated by Ms. Annie Dookhan because she had access to everyone’s drugs.”
What You Can Do
Criminal convictions can cost jobs, driver’s licenses, child custody, marriages – and can even result in deportation for non-citizens. To face conviction because of unethical crime lab work is a perfect example of the importance of hiring criminal defense lawyers who spend their time not only defending their clients, but also protecting the legal system.
No matter what the charge may be, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to protect yourself and your family.
The Arizona criminal defense attorneys at Corso Law Group are your advocates through whatever challenges life may present you. Corso Law Group lawyers are skilled Arizona criminal defense lawyers experienced in handling everything from DUI defense and criminal charges to civil speeding tickets.
Rest assured, our criminal defense lawyers are your advocates for any and all family issues that may arise.