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Role of Police and Prosecutors Questioned in Massachusetts Crime Lab Case

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The role of police and prosecutors is in question in the case of a Massachusetts crime lab chemist who faces criminal charges in mishandling thousands of drug test results. Annie Dookhan was arrested last month for allegedly faking drug results, forging paperwork and mixing drug samples.

Lawyers in the state say a key issue is whether Dookhan was motivated by close relationships with police or prosecutors, and whether they used their connection with her to influence lab results to benefit their cases, Reuters reports.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys in Massachusetts are faced with reevaluating more than 34,000 drug cases that were handled by Dookhan. They are starting with 1,140 cases of people already in prison, based on evidence that is potentially tainted.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is asking for $15 million in state funds to help pay for crime prevention, job and substance abuse counseling, and emergency housing, in anticipation of a mass release of inmates resulting from the drug lab scandal.

Dookhan admitted to being in close contact with police and prosecutors, a violation of state lab protocol. She said she looked at drug samples without testing them, known as “dry-labbing.” She also confessed to adding drugs to samples to make them weigh more.

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