Attorney General Martha Coakley has called on the Massachusetts Governor to appoint an independent investigator to review the policies and procedures of a state drug lab where the handling of evidence has come under question.
Chemist Annie Dookhan at the state laboratory in Jamaica Plain will be the focus of the investigation after her alleged mishandling of evidence has put thousands of drug cases in jeopardy, according to The Boston Globe.
“It is critical that all parties have unquestioned faith in that process from the beginning so that they will have full confidence in the conclusions drawn at the end,” Coakley said in a statement. “As a result, we are now requesting that the Governor – in consultation with District Attorneys and defense counsel – appoint an independent investigator to conduct this broader review.”
Authorities fear that Dookhan may have tainted evidence in 34,000 criminal cases over the nine years she worked at the Jamaica Plain lab run by the Department of Public Health. The lab has been shut down and Dookhan faces two counts of obstruction of justice. Dookhan pleaded not guilty to all charges and is free on $10,000 cash bail. The governor’s office plans to appoint someone to the investigation immediately.