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Review finds more cases affected by lab scandal

A review of the cases handled by Annie Dookhan, the former chemist at the heart of the state drug lab scandal, has found hundreds more cases that she may have affected, the lawyer leading the review said today.

Officials had previously announced that 1,141 people were serving sentence in state prison or county jail in cases where Dookhan had potentially mishandled the drugs. Attorney David Meier said today that there were potentially another 335 people being held on bail awaiting trial and another 144 presently on probation or parole, in cases where Dookhan may have played a role.

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In addition, Meier said, 319 juveniles were committed to detention but are now free based on evidence that may have been handled by Dookhan.

“These are sort of the priorities that we’ve been focusing on at the governor’s direction. We’re working to identify every individual who may be serving a sentence, who may be in custody awaiting trial, who may have been committed to the Department of Youth Services, or whose liberty might be restricted in some way because they’re on parole, they’re on probation, as a result of a drug case that this chemist may have worked on,” said Meier, a former prosecutor who was picked by Governor Deval Patrick to sift through the cases Dookhan handled.

Special court sessions designed to address the aftermath of the scandal will begin with hearings Monday morning in Suffolk Superior Court.

The first session will be at 9 a.m. Monday before Superior Court Justice Christine McEvoy, Meier said.

Annie Dookhan allegedly mishandled evidence at the now-closed Jamaica Plain lab run by the Department of Public Health where police took drugs to be tested.

Officials have said they believe she played a role in testing drugs in 34,000 cases. They have said they were moving quickly to identify which cases those were — and to make sure no one was incarcerated based on tainted evidence.

Worried about the potential release of hundreds of convicted criminals, Boston officials announced plans Thursday to put more specialized units on the streets, the Globe reported this morning.

In Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham, a number of lab scandal cases will be heard Monday, but not in a special session, said Norfolk district attorney’s spokesman David Traub.

A key element of any drug case is scientific testing that proves that the substance seized from a defendant is, in fact, drugs and not some other substance.

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