Massachusetts Lab Tech to Plead Guilty to Mishandling Evidence


More than a year after Massachusetts state laboratory chemist Annie Dookhan was arrested and prosecuted for alleged mishandling of evidence that led to more than 300 convicted inmates being released, she is scheduled to appear in Suffolk Superior Court today, where she is expected to plead guilty to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence.


The Associated Press reported that Dookhan initially pleaded not guilty to a total of 27 charges in the scandal that jeopardized thousands of convictions.


After state police discovered the extent of the alleged misconduct, the Department of Public Health lab, where Dookhan was employed for nine years, was shut down. Since its closing last year, at least 1,100 criminal cases have been dismissed or not prosecuted because of tainted evidence or other related fallout.


According to prosecutors, Dookhan admitted to faking test results in criminal cases to improve her productivity. And while they recommended a sentence of up to seven years in prison, Judge Carol Ball said in a written memo that she would impose a sentence of no more than three to five years if Dookhan decided to change her plea to guilty.


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