Massachusetts chemist pleads not guilty in crime lab scandal

Jan 30, 2013 - 0 Comments

Jan. 30, 2013 Reuters

A former Massachusetts crime lab chemist accused of falsifying evidence tied to as many as 34,000 cases pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice charges on Wednesday.

Prosecutors allege Annie Dookhan, 35, tampered with drug evidence and faked test results at the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston, where she had worked for nine years analyzing drug samples submitted by law enforcement across the state.

Dookhan is accused, among other things, of altering substances in vials to cover up her practice of visually identifying samples without doing the proper chemical testing.

Dookhan was arrested in September and subsequently charged with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, perjury, and falsely claiming to have an advanced degree in chemistry. Prosecutors charge she got the job by falsely claiming she had a master's degree from the University of Massachusetts.

Investigators have said they identified some 10,000 people convicted or accused of crimes based on evidence she had handled at the Hinton lab, which is temporarily closed.

State officials say 252 people had been released from prison pending new trials as a result of the investigation, as of January 4.

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