On first blush, she’s a bright young woman from Barbados, who wanted to do a good job. At least that’s what she told people…But she had terrible work habits. When the state police came to her house and interviewed her about concerns that had been raised in the lab, she basically confessed to sometimes recording drug evidence as positive when they were negative.
Annie Dookhan was just your average, over-worked state employee, punching the clock at the Hinton State Laboratory in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Her duties, testing drug evidence for cases that were bound for criminal prosecution, were well within her qualifications. She held a Master’s Degree in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, and she was fast, capable, and driven. In her nine years at the lab she tested evidence for an estimated 34,000 drug cases that led to the convictions of some of Boston’s most dangerous criminals. What could possibly have gone wrong?
Well, for one, she was lying about her Master’s Degree. UMASS has no record of Annie Dookhan taking graduate classes there. But that bit of creative resume building is pretty tame compared to allegations that forced her resignation, shuttered the laboratory, and ousted the state’s public health commissioner.
According to state prosecutors, Annie Dookhan falsified tests and mishandled evidence for years. And she admitted to it when police first questioned her in August. To make matters worse, she cannot remember which cases she shat the bed on. This calls into question every conviction that relied on evidence that Annie signed off on.