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Mass., crime lab scandal tough to repair

Dec. 14, 2012 at 3:07 PM

BOSTON, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Massachusetts officials said they are determined to repair the state's criminal justice system after it was revealed a state crime lab chemist faked results.

Annie Dookhan, a former Massachusetts crime lab chemist, allegedly tampered with evidence in as many as 34,000 drug cases, CBS News reported Friday.

"The implication, at least based upon our investigation, is that she faked the results," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

So far, 160 people who were convicted on evidence that included crime lab information have been freed from Massachusetts prisons and hundreds more may be released.

Bernard Grossberg, a criminal defense attorney, said: "It's incalculable for the harm that has been done to the integrity of the criminal justice system. While we don't like some of these guys getting released, that's what the law requires."

Some say they are worried that the increased number of criminals on the streets may lead to a crime spree in the state.

"All of our local police chiefs can and should be worried about that but we're determined to get it right in Massachusetts," Coakley said. "We have to make sure the public has a sense the system works."

Dookhan could be indicted for obstruction of justice in the next week. If convicted, she faces 20 years in prison.

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