An investigation by the state inspector general has found a pattern of neglect, mismanagement, and poor standards at the former Hinton drug laboratory in Jamaica Plain, where a drug chemist tampered with evidence in one of the worst criminal justice scandals in the Commonwealth’s history.
The 15-month investigation found that the chemist, Annie Dookhan, was the only “bad actor” at the laboratory, yet the pattern of negligence and poor management there has raised doubts about thousands of additional cases, said Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha.
“Annie Dookhan’s actions at the lab were unique,” Cunha said, adding, “That said, a lack of uniform protocols and procedures at the lab led to deficient practices.”
Among the deficiencies, the investigation found roughly 2,300 drug cases in which test results for evidence were inconsistent, and yet the possibly exculpatory information was never flagged for prosecutors and defense attorneys. Dookhan had been involved in many, but not all, of those cases.
The state Department of Public Health, which ran the laboratory until the extent of the malpractice was discovered in 2012, had failed to establish a chain of command for roughly 196 cases. Not all of them involved Dookhan.
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