Indo-American Chemist Jailed For Faking Forensic Test Results

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HOUSTON – An Indo-Americanformer chemist at a Massachusettsdrug lab has been sentencedto prison for faking forensic testresults, a scandal that has jeopardizedthousands of convictions.Annie Dookhan pleaded guiltyon Wednesday in Suffolk SuperiorCourt to all 27 counts against herrelated to the drug lab scandal.She was sentenced to three to fiveyears in prison.Dookhan, 36, showed littleemotion and spoke softly as shepleaded guilty.After accepting Dookhan’splea, Judge Carol Ball sentencedher to three to five years in stateprison in Framingham.Dookhan’s falsification ofdrug tests, in an attempt to looklike a highly productive employee,prompted the release of hundredsof convicts, raised questions aboutthousands of cases, and forced thestate to spend millions to address theproblems.Ball, who found that Dookhan hadentered her plea “freely, willingly, andvoluntarily”, also sentenced Dookhan totwo years of probation.Prosecutors had requested a five-toseven-year sentence for Dookhan. Herdefense attorney had argued for a maximumsentence of one year.Sentencing guidelines called for amaximum sentence of three years forDookhan, but Ball said in a ruling lastmonth she wanted to impose a toughersentence “given the magnitude of theharm she has done, considerations ofgeneral deterrence and, particularly, punishment.”Massachusetts officials identifiedmore than 40,000 criminal cases affectedby testing Dookhan did during the nineyears she worked at the now-closed Hintonstate lab.Michael O’Keefe, president of theMassachusetts District Attorneys Association,says prosecutors have siftedthrough hundreds of cases and closeto 350 people have been released fromprison.

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