Judge sets maximum possible sentence for Dookhan at 5 years

A Suffolk Superior Court judge says Annie Dookhan, the disgraced former state lab chemist whose alleged mishandling of evidence has thrown thousands of drug cases in doubt, should get a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison, if she agrees to plead guilty.

Judge Carol Ball issued the ruling this afternoon. She said she was reaching her decision mindful of the “uniqueness of the case and the extremes presented.”

“On the one hand,” Ball wrote, “the defendant presents as a tragic and broken person who has been undone by her own ambition. ... On the other hand, the consequences of her behavior, which she ought to have foreseen, have been nothing short of catastrophic.”