Many people are convicted in American courts on the basis of drug lab analysis. Just how accurate or accountable are the people and labs? schwit1 writes with an excerpt that gives a good reminder of how people can land in jail based on fake data, with the example (an outlier, surely) of Annie Dookhan, a chemist who worked at a Massachusetts state lab drug. Dookhan was sentenced in 2013 to at least three years in prison, after pleading guilty in 2012 to having falsified thousands of drug tests. Among her extracurricular crime lab activities, Dookhan failed to properly test drug samples before declaring them positive, mixed up samples to create positive tests, forged signatures, and lied about her own credentials. Over her nine-year career, Dookhan tested about 60,000 samples involved in roughly 34,000 criminal cases. Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can't figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.
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