AG: Drug lab fallout likely to be felt for years to come
BOSTON -- Attorney General Martha Coakley said the fallout from chemist Annie Dookhan's alleged mishandling of thousands of drug samples at a Jamaica Plain lab will likely be felt years to come.
The first job of prosecutors statewide is to find out how many people may be locked up Friday because Annie Doohkhan allegedly faked the results of their drug tests.
“Whatever the reason it happened, we need to make sure we make it right. That people are not held serving sentences when the information on which they were convicted was unfair, inaccurate, perjured perhaps, falsified. That is the immediate task at hand,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley.
In the two cases Dookhan is charged with falsifying results, investigators were able to retest the substances and find out they weren't the drugs Dookhan said they were.
But Coakley says in many cases prosecutors don't have the samples anymore to go back and disprove or prove the alleged drugs are real.
“We always have that burden beyond a reasonable doubt to do it fairly and accurately. Her actions totally turned the system on its head,” AG Coakley said.
Coakley says it will take a long time and a lot of effort to find out how many convictions may be tossed out.
The attorney general also says that as a result of what this one woman is alleged to have done, it will take a long time to restore public trust in a justice system that has been shaken to its core.
“We have to get to the bottom of this and we will. Again, I think it will be a long and complicated road but we will get there,” said AG Coakley.
The governor’s task force is working with both prosecutors and defense lawyers to cooperatively figure out how many cases will be lost and which cases will be rekindled.