In 2012, Annie Dookhan, a former Massachusettes crime lab chemist tasked with testing drug samples for law enforcement agencies, admitted to tampering with drug evidence and pled guilty to 27 counts of obstruction of justice, evidence tampering, perjury and falsification of records. Dookhan was sentenced to three to five years in prison for the crimes committed during her nine years as a chemist for the Massachusettes Department of Public Health but was quietly paroled last April. Now over 21,000 drug cases handled by the disgraced chemist have been dismissed.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has overturned 21,587 low-level drug cases after district attorneys said they would be unable to re-prosecute the cases given Dookhan’s gross misconduct. The dismissals mark the largest single dismissal of criminal cases in U.S. history, according to The American Civil Liberties, who were also instrumental in getting the convictions overturned.