Suffolk D.A. Rollins vacates another 100 tainted drug lab convictions

Thousands of convictions across the state have already been tossed.

Former state chemist Annie Dookham leaves Suffolk Superior Court with her husband after being arraigned on 27 counts in 2012. John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

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BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s top prosecutor has moved to throw out about 100 more convictions tainted by the misconduct of a former drug lab chemist, she said Tuesday.

Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the cases are “forever tainted” by Annie Dookhan, who was convicted in 2013 of tampering with evidence and sentenced to three years in prison.

Thousands of convictions across the state have already been tossed because of Dookhan’s actions. Rollins’ office, which handles cases in Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop, said she has moved to vacate another 108 cases.

“No defendant impacted by this ignominious chapter of Massachusetts law enforcement history should continue to bear the burden of Dookhan’s deceit, her sad and desperate need for attention, and the enormous amount of harm she inflicted upon so many,” Rollins said in an emailed statement.


With the coronavirus pandemic disrupting court operations, it doesn’t make sense to spend the resources on the cases, she said.

Furthermore, the defendants face mandatory minimums that “make it infinitely easier to persuade and leverage defendants to plead guilty,” Rollins said.

A study commissioned by late Supreme Judicial Court Chief Ralph Gants this year found that Black and Latino defendants are more likely to get hit with charges that carry mandatory minimum prison time.

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