Yesterday, a former chemist with the State Police crime lab was arrested and charged with obstructing justice after a lengthly investigation determined that she falsified results and lied about conducting tests.
Annie Dookhan certainly deserves whatever punishment is handed down to her..should she be convicted. However, it should not end with her. The state's Public Health Commissioner is already out of a job and over the course of time, I am sure there will be several more resignations or firings. The actions ( or in some cases ..inactions) taken by Dookhan could not have happened on such a large scale had the proper controls been in place. The recent scandal paints a picture of a crime lab where there was little to no oversight and little respect or regard for evidence or the people whose lives were affected..one way or another..by the results of the testing done in the lab.
For Annie Dookhan to do what she has been accused of doing..there had to be countless people..both supervisors and coworkers...turning a blind eye to the every day happenings inside that lab. Turning a blind eye has NO place in our system of justice.
One has to wonder how many innocent people may have been convicted...had their lives turned upside down because of the irresponsible actions of the people working in the Hinton State Lab. Just imagine..knowing you are innocent of an accusation against you...yet finding out the evidence proves otherwise..and you are powerless to change it. That is not and should not be the way our system of justice works.
In my opinion, there needs to be a wholesale cleansing of the Hinton Lab personnell..a review of its policies and procedures and criminal obstruction of justice charges brought against anyone whose inaction allowed this to occur.