On That State Police Junk Scientist

This is a huge mess!

Chemist Annie Dookhan was ‘‘Superwoman,’’ a colleague at a Massachusetts state crime lab used to joke. She seemed unstoppable in her quest to please prosecutors, police and her bosses, testing two to three times more drug samples than anyone else, working through lunch and not bothering to put in for overtime.

‘‘The kind of person, if you owned your own business, you would want to hire her,’’ a supervisor would later tell police.

Beginning about four years ago, suspicions arose about the way she seemed to plow through so many cases so fast. After that, a supervisor complained he never actually saw her in front of a microscope. But her superiors let her work on.

Now, the startling explanation has come spilling out: Dookhan told investigators she faked test results on drug samples and cut other corners.

She faked data, and she fabricated her Resume. Now cases are being thrown out. Now the law of averages says that many of the people being let free are possibly innocent of the crimes they were convicted of…but many probably aren’t.

The big take-away is that the state really doesn’t give a shit, and let this wound fester. Just the fact that they let somebody put a falsified degree on a resume is enough to show extreme laziness on behalf of the state. I’ve had to fax in my college transcript to jobs to verify my resume was legit, and I’m sure most accredited schools have systems where enrollment and graduation can be quickly verified by employers.

And this is the STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS, not some little 10 employee start-up business. You don’t think the state has a monster HR division that spends most of their time justifying their own employment?

And that’s not even getting into the fact that she was cooking the books under the nose of her supervisors, and not in a “ooops I messed up that Assay, well I’ll just adjust the numbers”, but in a way where people were both amazed at her workload AND surprised that they didn’t see her working very hard!

Carry your damn guns people, the state just left the barn doors open overnight!

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3 Responses to On That State Police Junk Scientist

  1. MAJ Mike says:

    Had a similiar problem in San Antonio some years back If memory serves, that medical examiner got jail time.

  2. Phssthpok says:

    The inverse corollary question here is:

    “How long would this wound have festered if Ms. Superwoman were returning an equal degree of negative test results?”

    Was it laziness, or constructive ignorance that enabled this situation to endure as long a it did? And, if it is constructive ignorance, how much culpability does the state have in all those wrongful convictions?

    • Weerd Beard says:

      There certainly could be some “Inconvenient Truth” factors in here. ie: if she was returning “good” results, there might not be much of a drive to see if the results were accurate or not.

      Still EVERY scientific lab (especially one that is processing forensic evidence in criminal cases) should have oversight to verify that good lab practices are happening.

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