Special Court Sessions to Deal With Suffolk County Fallout From State Drug Lab Scandal

It was announced Monday that Suffolk Superior Court, which handles cases in Boston, will have special court sessions in October to deal with cases in which a so-called "rogue chemist" may have tainted evidence.

The state announced on Monday its latest move to deal with the unprecedented scandal out of the State Drug Lab in Jamaica Plain.

Suffolk Superior Court will host a series of sessions dedicated to cases affected by the lab crisis, said Jake Wark, spokesperson for the Suffolk County District Attorney.

So-called "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan is alleged to have tainted evidence in thousands of cases. She was arrested on Friday on charges of obstruction of justice and falsely claiming a university degree. She pleaded not guilty and was freed on $10,000 bail. The Franklin woman is required to wear a GPS monitoring device.

The court sessions are expected to be the weeks of Oct. 15 and 22, Wark said.

"We are assembling a task force of prosecutors and support staff who will assess those cases and make recommendations to the court on each of them," Wark said in an email to Patch. "We're prioritizing cases in which defendants are held on bail or incarcerated after conviction."

Other counties announced similar plans as the fallout continues.

It still isn't clear why Dookhan would have tainted evidence in so many cases over many years of her employment at the Department of Public Health. On Friday, Attorney General Martha Coakley said Dookhan had neither a drug problem nor money troubles. Those are two common reasons lab technicians sometimes get into trouble, she said. Instead, it appears a desire to be seen as a top-notch worker may have led her to take shortcuts and even produce false positives of substances that were not cocaine.

For more coverage of the JP Drug Lab Scandal, please visit our topic page on the issue.


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