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Governor Pledges to 'Do Right' in 'Rogue Chemist' Case

In a live chat on Patch Thursday, Gov. Deval Patrick said he approves of the extraordinary step of allowing release to defense attorneys of State Police interviews with alleged "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan.

 

Gov. Deval Patrick took part in a live chat on Patch Thursday. In it, he spoke about the scandal engulfing the State Drug Lab in Jamaica Plain.

That's where so-called "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan is alleged to have tainted the evidence in as many as 34,000 cases. Thousands of drug dealers behind bars could go free (and some have already been released.)

Asked by Patch for a progress report on the mammoth task of dealing with the fallout, here's what the governor typed:

The criminal investigation is ongoing. Yesterday, in a very unusual move, prosecutors gave defense attorneys all the notes of State Police interviews of witnesses to date, including the notes of the interview of Annie Dookhan, the chemist at the center of this. Given the seriousness of the breach I support this disclosure. Several news reports have discussed the added detail from those notes. For me, the central focus is getting a complete list of the names and case dispositions of every one of the 34,000 cases Ms. Dookhan was involved in and doing right by each of those folks. We are making good progress. It will take a little while yet.

In the police report the governor wrote about, Dookhan told investigators "I messed up bad."

Patch also asked Patrick about the timeline going forward. His reponse was:

Fast as possible. We have all 34,000 names. They have to be cross-checked with individual docket numbers and dispositions. David Meier, who is running the central office, working with prosecutors and defense lawyers, as well as reps of the various agencies, is starting with those who are incacerated or awaiting trial and then they'll move out from there.

The governor covered a lot of ground in the 45-minute chat session. Here's a link to the full transcript.

Follow all the news about the scandal at Jamaica Plain's State Drug Lab at the Jamaica Plain Patch "Annie Dookhan" topic page.

dan September 29, 2012 at 11:29 AM
When governor Patrick was United States Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, he would not hold a government official responsible for shooting a 13 year old boy in the back (killing him) denying the child his civil rights. Why would the Governor handle this massive drug-lab-fiasco “systemic failure” any different. Why did Governor Patrick not complain when the tax exempt North Eastern University took the governor’s appointee into their organization giving him a hiding place while the low level chemist takes the hilt? The governor and his appointees failed to watch their own people and they push the blame on a low level employee, shameful. This story and the reaction from government officials and watchdog agencies is just a repeat of another government agency, such as the Cities Housing Authorities, the Court’s Probation Department, the Department of Social Services (when kids get killed), the Medical Examiner’s Office, and the many other departments going bad because of the political hiring practices and the hands off approach to the political connected or protected groups

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