Monday, November 5, 2012
Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to appoint an independent investigator soon to focus on the wider effects and root causes of the scandal at the shuttered State Drug Lab in JP.
Legal defense and civil rights groups are applauding a move to take the investigation of the State Drug Lab scandal out of the Attorney General's hands. The state's top law enforcement official, Attorney General Martha Coakley, has agreed to a plan for an independent investigator to take over a probe of the wider effects and root causes of the scandal at the shuttered State Drug Lab in JP, according to several media sources. Coakley will continue the more narrow criminal probe against so-called "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan, however. She is the chemist accused of tainting evidence in 34,000 or more drug cases. Her alleged actions have already sent dozens of convicted drug dealers back onto Bay State streets. Critics had called on Coakley …
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A Roslindale man has become the first suspect to be re-arrested on drug charges after being freed because of the evidence-tainting scandal at the State Drug Lab in JP.
Police are warning the convicted drug dealers going free in the JP Drug Lab scandal that there will be zero tolerance if they offend again. But on Friday, prosecutors say, that's exactly what happened. A Roslindale man was held on $100,000 cash bail on new cocaine trafficking charges. The reason he was out of jail was that, in a previous trafficking case, evidence against him had been handled by chemist Annie Dookhan. She's the state employee accused of mishandling thousands of drug samples, including faking test results. Enrique Camilo, 37, was arrested Friday on a warrant at Logan Airport while returning from the Dominican Republic, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Spokesperson Jake Wark. Boston Police recovered about a …
Monday, October 29, 2012
The Web site "Vice" interviewed Scott Allen, senior assistant metro editor for The Globe, about the impact of the State Drug Lab scandal. Its a nice overview of what's been happening and what's likely to happen.
It can be difficult to wrap one's mind around the consequences of the State Drug Lab scandal. The numbers involved — at least 34,000 drug samples, perhaps as many as 190,000 cases all told — are staggering. The Web site "Vice" posted a nice overview of the scandal on Saturday. They interviewed Scott Allen, senior assistant metro editor at the Globe. The whole thing is well worth a read if you want to understand the impact of so-called "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan and the crisis in the state's justice system. Here's a taste: Q: Wow. So we should stay tuned to this, right? This story’s got legs. A: Yeah it does. As time goes on, it doesn’t get better. It gets worse. You can clear the books of a lot of these, but you put more and more and …
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Three prominent legal groups say Attorney General Martha Coakley must hand over her investigation of the JP State Drug Lab scandal to an independent body.
Can the state's top law enforcement official be trusted to carry out the probe into what went wrong at the State Drug Lab in JP? Several legal and civil liberties groups said "No" on Wednesday. The Massachusetts Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union and Committee for Public Counsel Services sent a letter calling on Attorney General Martha Coakley to hand the investigation to an independent body. "As unimpeachable as the Office of Attorney General is," read the letter, "an institution that prosecutes drug cases, supports the State Police unit that investigates drug cases and also supports drug cases by District Attorneys will be perceived as having a stake in the investigation's outcome." Brad Puffer, a spokesperson for the …
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Anthony Thames, 28, who was charged with murdering a Boston man in the South End last August, will remain held without bail, despite a separate drugs case against him that was handled by disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan.
A man charged with murdering a Boston man on a South End street corner last summer appeared in court on Monday because a separate drug charge against him was handled by the chemist responsible for the state drug lab scandal. However, his case was not touched by the judge. Anthony Thames, 28, was charged with first degree murder and firearm possession last year in the fatal shooting of 33-year-old Raymond Lemar near the intersection of East Berkeley and Harrison Avenue last August. Shortly after his arrest on that offense, Thames pleaded guilty to several drug charges, including distribution of cocaine. But as it turns out, that cocaine was handled by disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan in the Jamaica Plain state drug lab, a fact that has …
Monday, October 22, 2012
A roundup of developments in the shocking breakdown at the State Drug Lab in JP, in which a chemist was allowed to mishandle drug evidence for years.
Courts continued to set convicted drug dealers free as the state deals with the fallout from the alleged actions of a "rogue chemist" who was allowed to mishandle drug evidence for years. Here's a roundup of key developments last week as the state works through more than a thousand cases in which people are behind bars on evidence handled by Annie Dookhan, the disgraced worker at the shuttered State Drug Lab in JP. For all of Jamaica Plain Patch's coverage of the JP Drug Lab Scandal, please visit our topic page on the issue.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
A Monday court session appeared to go smoothly as at least 10 drug dealers had their convictions put on hold as a result of the scandal at the State Drug Lab in Jamaica Plain.
An air of normality is settling in to the extraordinary business of setting convicted drug dealers free as Suffolk County courts deal with the fallout from the State Drug Lab scandal. On Monday Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy heard from convict after convict whose cases may have been tainted by disgraced chemist Annie Dookhan. Through the morning session, about 10 convicts had their sentences "stayed." That means they can provisionally go free provided they meet any bail requirements and aren't serving time for offenses unconnected to Dookhan. She's accused of tainting drug evidence in cases involving up to 34,000 defendants during her nine years as an analyst at the State Drug Lab in Jamaica Plain. On Monday, …
Friday, October 12, 2012
The city's top brass has put in a "crisis re-entry plan" for inmates released from prison as a result of the JP State Drug Lab scandal.
With as many as 600 convicted drug dealers up for early release from prison, city officials say they have a plan to limit the damage to Boston's neighborhoods. "This is an emergency," Mayor Thomas Menino said in a joint press conference with Boston Police Chief Ed Davis and Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley. Menino outlined a plan for Boston to deal with the fallout from the alleged actions of a "rogue chemist" at the JP Drug Lab who may have tainted samples in thousands of drug cases. "We are concerned about the large number of individuals who will be released from state prison," Menino said, "with no plan for transition back into society, and just as concerned about those who may return to a lifestyle that can cause turmoil on…
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Chemist Annie Dookhan refused to testify Wednesday in a case involving Shawn Drumgold, who spent 14 years in prison for an infamous Boston murder.
UPDATE, Wednesday, 6:28 p.m. — The Globe reports that the judge will not immediately drop charges in the drug case against Shawn Drumgold. The judge said he will give prosecutors time to determine whether or not "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan handled the evidence against Drumgold. ~~~~~ Two notorious figures in Massachusetts crime crossed paths in court Wednesday, as "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan pleaded the Fifth to avoid testifying. Dookhan exercised her Constitutional right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions in a drug case against Shawn Drumgold. That's the same Shawn Drumgold who spent 14 years behind bars for the murder of 12-year-old Darlene Tiffany Moore. The child was killed in crossfire between rival gangs …
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
The case of "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan, accused of tainting drug evidence in thousands of cases, should be seen in context of increasing pressure on forensic labs, professionals say.
"Rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan, accused of tainting drug samples in thousands of Bay State cases, didn't operate in a vacuum. More like a sweatshop. Lab professionals say caseloads have soared across the U.S., with backlogs of more than a month rising sharply since 2005, according to an article in Nature. Dookhan's case is already infamous here in Massachusetts, where it has shaken confidence in the justice system. Authorities say Dookhan, for reasons unknown, altered evidence and rushed through testing in up to 34,000 drug cases during her years as a chemist at the State Drug Lab in JP. An estimated 1,100 people are behind bars based on evidence she handled. One theory, voiced by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, is that …