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Crime The Courts Science

Crime Lab Scandals Just Keep Getting Worse (slate.com) 245

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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Crime Lab Scandals Just Keep Getting Worse

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  • three years? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:34AM (#50837633)

    How about adding up all the time served by the people who got false convictions, then doubling it.

    • Re:three years? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interval1066 ( 668936 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @11:44AM (#50838035) Homepage Journal
      Here's a thing that would appear to point to a (another) big flaw in the system; prosecutors are apparently immune from their flawed actions. They're slow to remedy wrongful convictions in these cases this Annie Dookhan tainted, and they don't appear to be accountable. Many of the news articles (and there are a lot about this lab, not only was this Dookhan character tainting evidence, but a co-worker routinely dipped into the drug bin and was high during her processing) remark on the fact that the prosecutors involved refuse to do anything about the thousands sitting in jail based on these faulty tests citing they followed procedure. I can't think of a bigger flaw in a system wherein the ones in power refuse to correct the situation. The criminal justice system in this country is in dire straits. Thanks mainly to the war on drugs.
      • Re:three years? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @02:55PM (#50838553) Homepage Journal

        This is a huge part of the problem and is very revealing. Prosecutors and judges decide there is no particular hurry to get the many innocent people convicted by the worst kind of false evidence out of jail, then go home to their nicer than average homes and have a better than average dinner with their families while the innocent eat the cheapest crap that can legally be called food while locked away from their friends and family.

        Once the wheels of justice grind away, more slowly than usual, they will act as if they are doing the falsely convicted the worlds biggest favor simply by not further wrongly punishing them.

        As for compensation, start by looking at how much you have to pay someone to willingly live under poor conditions away from their family for an extended period of time. So you're looking at paying them what you would pay a North Atlantic oil platform worker at a minimum. Then double it because there was no furlough on offer and double it again because they didn't willingly accept the arrangement.

  • Systematic Failure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hasaf ( 3744357 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:39AM (#50837641)

    People will look at this person as a bd person, and I do not question that; but the system that allowed this to happen is the real culprit. A system that rewards people, formally or subtly, for producing the desired results, is not a system that is engineered for finding truth.

    The reality is that Lae Enforcement and investigation procedures need independent oversight built directly into the system. Otherwise these issues can never be resolved.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pubwvj ( 1045960 )

      No, she was a bad person. Just because a system allows you to cheat does not mean you should cheat and if you do cheat you are the bad person, not the system. She should have had to serve the time of all of her victims x 3. She got off way too easily.

      • meme.jpg (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:57AM (#50837693)

        Why not both?

        Yeah, she should be nailed to a raft by her ears and set adrift on the ocean.

        But we should have a system of justice that isn't so prone to corruption by way of weak oversight.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @01:51PM (#50838389)
        When you can cheat for so long with nobody finding out that you can ruin hundreds of thousands of lives, then the system is also broken.

        She should have had to serve the time of all of her victims x 3. She got off way too easily.

        And what "punishment" for a system that has allowed a single person to screw up 50,000 or so cases? The system is fine. It fucks the poor. It fucks the minorities. It fucks the people we don't like. So keep the system the way it is, and replace the broken cog in the broken machine, and let the broken machine still pump out bad results.

        And 3x the time of the victims is a silly sentence. Let's say every conviction (some wrongly, some rightly) were 1 year (some shorter, some longer), that's 34,000 (current estimate, could be more) years in prison. That's purely symbolic and does nothing to prevent this from happening again, nor make any of the tainted convictions right.

        What would you do with the victims of her crimes?

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      And it needs somebody that is responsible if this oversight fails and that goes to jail. In the US system that would be the task and responsibility of the prosecutor as it is his/her evidence.

    • by aussersterne ( 212916 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @11:00AM (#50837907) Homepage

      The civil justice system is just as big a mess, and for the same reason as TFA implies. Strangely absent from both systems are the victims and the accused, the petitioners and the respondents, the actual citizens that the system purportedly serves.

      Instead, both parties touch the system only at its very edge. Their actual cases happen more or less without them, winding their way through an impossibly large-scale system full of paid actors whose jobs, practically speaking, at the level of everyday experience, are not to think about the parties in the case, but to perform the same particularistic tasks day after day in massive volumes before handing things off to other paid actors in a massive division of labor.

      It's a kind of assembly line or factory for legal activity and paperwork production. The complete details of any single case, civil or criminal, are not known by anyone within the system—even the judges, commissioners, and magistrates that hear them—even though the actual parties to the case know their own stories inside and out. There is no facility or room within the system for its paid actors to actually get to know a case, through either party's eyes. Instead, each professional focuses only on the tiny fragment of each case that they are responsible for before handing it off to the next professional.

      There is essentially no oversight for any part of the system, and even if there was, plausible deniability is huge, since each professional knows and interacts with only the tiniest part of each case, yet most legal statues offer recourse only if poor or unprofessional practice are more likely than not to have actually altered the final outcomes of this division of labor involving many months, dozens or hundreds of specialists, and a significant degree of uncertainty due to the vagaries of interaction and logistics.

      It is a forest-for-trees problem to the Nth power, but it's difficult to see any way to address it; to be just, the law needs to be well-documented, clear and explicit, and to have nuance and detail. This necessarily makes it large and complex. That implies the need for professionals that have been trained in it. But a professional that dedicates their life to law must be able to make a living. Most individuals cannot afford to pay an entire salary to a legal professional, much less the many that must work on a given case due to the complexity of the law, and thus, they cannot expect these professionals to dedicate themselves to a single case. Instead, the costs of the professionals' salaries must be shared amongst literally many thousands of victims, accused, petitioners, and respondents, meaning that the professionals must limit their consumption of case details to just those in which they specialize, or face mountains of information with which they can't possibly cope and the consumption of which would impact their ability to do the job in which they specialize.

      As a result, for the average citizen, bringing a case or participating in a case is like playing a giant, almost comically huge game of Plinko. The case enters at one end of the machine and knocks about between pegs endlessly and seemingly at random, well out of their reach, for what seems like ages, while they stand by, breathless and helpless. At the end, the case exits somewhere, with some sort of decision, but the relationship between its final disposition and its initial circumstances are completely unpredictable and due to the nature of the machine, and it's difficult to argue that any part of the game machine is "broken" most of the time—a peg in the machine has to be severely affected (i.e. missing, malformed, completely bent) for such a claim to be viable. Minor variances throughout may influence outcomes for a very long time without being detectable, even under scrutiny. And for the most part, there is no budget, much less any avenue even for the funding and organization of a program of scrutiny.

      • by Comen ( 321331 )

        The first time I got drug tested by a job I was trying to get it was in a small doctors office, years later when I had to do the same thing again for another job it was in a drug testing facility that tests hundreds of people all the time like herding cattle.
        Testing companies have convinced employers that you can not afford to NOT test your employees, it could make you look bad in the press and cause bigger issues later.
        It is all a bunch a bullshit and they need to leave people allot, stop wasting money on

  • by cellocgw ( 617879 ) <cellocgw@@@gmail...com> on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:43AM (#50837655) Journal

    Just pass some retroactive laws legalizing drug use. Problem solved. No need for new trials. No new costs, and dramatically reduced law enforcement budget going forward. Plus revenue from tax stamps on recreational substances.

    • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

      I like your idea. If there were no penalties for using drugs then there would be no reason for drug users to hide the fact that they use drugs. By their use being illegal, the whole dataset that could provide important information as to both the positive and detrimental effects of drug use is totally skewed. The way it is now, only those stupid enough to be caught using drugs contribute to the data which causes the results to suggest that using drugs makes you stupid. The only way to ensure there is no bias

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ScentCone ( 795499 )

        The way it is now, only those stupid enough to be caught using drugs contribute to the data which causes the results to suggest that using drugs makes you stupid.

        I totally agree. This whole notion that people who use meth or heroine all day are in any way impacted by those drugs is just The Man trying to keep us down. Substantial studies showing that young people who smoke dope end up dumber, more paranoid, and otherwise developmentally down the scale - that's all just BS (never mind that such studies line up perfectly with the observations any honest person will tell you they've made through their own experience). Yes, it's just like alcohol, I know. Which is a go

        • by DarkTempes ( 822722 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @11:25AM (#50837981)

          While drugs are bad there is also evidence that shitty environmental situations, not just addiction, drive people to drugs in the first place.

          Your "honest person observation" smells an awful lot like what prejudice people say when they want to persecute minorities.
          "Any honest person will tell you that, in their experience, [group] are [lazy/dumb/useless/not REAL people so it's ok that we treat them like shit]"

          Giving drug abusers an even shittier environment to live in by demonizing them isn't going to lead to better outcomes for society.
          Watch this but with a grain of salt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

          The point is not that the public should embrace the use of drugs but that the war on drugs is a complete failure and actually doing harm.
          It only makes sense that you should try something else when what you're doing isn't working.

          For example, we could legalize marijuana and decriminalize other drugs and use the income from taxes on marijuana to fund education to prevent abuse and social programs to help abusers get back on their feet and be proud of themselves and break their addiction (and, possibly more importantly, their need for their addiction.)
          Ideally we'd try lots of different methods of helping people and use studies to see which methods are actually effective and worth continued funding.

          So, we wouldn't be wasting taxes on law enforcement and prison sentences for abusers, we'd hopefully undercut the black market and cut down on drug related crime, it would potential be self-funding (the best kind of taxation), and people might actually get help instead of being treated like scum.

          I don't have any ideas for what to do about drug dealers who can no longer make a profit selling drugs, though. It'd suck to collapse that economy and drive them to a worse crime.

          And honestly, we already tax alcohol and tobacco and I have to wonder where all of that money is going. It seems to me if 100% of that were going to education and social programs for drug abusers (including alcohol and tobacco) then we'd probably be in a lot better place.

          • by spauldo ( 118058 )

            The point is not that the public should embrace the use of drugs but that the war on drugs is a complete failure and actually doing harm.
            It only makes sense that you should try something else when what you're doing isn't working.

            Yep. Unfortunately, there's a lot more to it.

            First off, there are of course the people who benefit from the current system. The criminal justice system is huge, and there are a lot of people and companies that suck on that teat.

            Second, decriminalization is "soft on crime." That's political suicide in many parts of the country.

            Third, a lot of conservative types support the war on drugs and long prison sentences. Those play well with the Republican base.


            For example, we could legalize marijuana and decriminalize other drugs and use the income from taxes on marijuana to fund education to prevent abuse and social programs to help abusers get back on their feet and be proud of themselves and break their addiction (and, possibly more importantly, their need for their addiction.)

            Ideally we'd try lots of different methods of helping people and use studies to see which methods are actually effective and worth continued funding.

            You used the words "social programs." It doesn

            • It really is bizarre that our society is completely fine with criminalizing minor activities and then taking away someone's rights and freedoms while paying to house and feed them.

              But any government program that tries to help house or feed or improve the life of a non-criminal is considered a waste of money and some sort of "Nanny State" attack on society and will lead to a totalitarian communist government and the complete erosion of our rights and freedoms.

              Or how people can be against gun licenses when mo

          • it just depends on what part of society you're from. If you're in the upper class drug laws are great. They keep the poors out of your neighborhood, schools and parks.

            Let me explain. Almost every poor person at least knows someone who takes drugs. In the absence of access to medical care you're going to self medicate. Now, remember that all our drug laws make you guilty by association. If they find your buddy's pot in your car you still lose your car. That means if you're poor you learn to avoid the poli
    • Are you nuts? We have a whole private industry hanging on this!

    • Bad forensics effects cases other than drug cases. So no, that does not solve the problem.

    • The problem isn't solved.

      There are still thousands of people that have criminal records associated with them as a direct result of bullshit this person lied about.

      Even if you get that 'removed' from their record, its still there, it doesn't actually go away and it will follow them for the rest of their lives. Legalizing drugs doesn't help them in any way shape or form.

  • Up The Ladder (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magusxxx ( 751600 ) <magusxxx_2000@y[ ]o.com ['aho' in gap]> on Saturday October 31, 2015 @09:55AM (#50837687)
    And where was her boss during all of this? Did he give her raises by checking her performance or her conviction rate?
    • He got fired... for letting her carry on, "testing" thousands more samples than her colleagues each year, for nine years.

      So, on the one hand, at least he (and several other people above her) got the axe.
      On the other hand, NINE YEARS?!? What the HELL, people?

  • by asifyoucare ( 302582 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @10:02AM (#50837719)
    Anyone convicted on the basis of a test she could have conducted should be pardoned. Or you could just wait for the inevitable successful appeals. Pardons would save time and money and give quicker partial justice.
    • by tmosley ( 996283 )
      Not pardoned, but their conviction should be thrown out.

      And the entire legal system of Massachusetts should be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up, firing EVERYONE who was anything higher than a mid-level manager.

      Although honestly, this travesty of justice makes me think that even more drastic action is needed. I'm thinking we release all non-violent prisoners and hold a constitutional convention. The system is fucked up in a fundamental way, and we need to rebuild it so that it isn't.
    • > Anyone convicted on the basis of a test she could have conducted should be pardoned.

      I agree with your sentiment. I see enormous practical difficulties. Sorting out which convictions were "on the basis of a test" is a nightmare, especially when the victims of poor testing plea bargained to a lower sentence. And what of people convicted of violence while in prison, violence that might not have occurred if they'd been free?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Take random samples from one lab and have them retested at another lab. Mistakes will be borne out.

    • by tmosley ( 996283 )
      That would be good to root out random error, but this isn't random, it's biased. The state is paying for these tests, and the state wants a conviction, so, surprise surprise, they get the conviction.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @10:52AM (#50837885)
    Seems to me that something as important as evidence testing should be carried out by at least two separate, independent labs. The extra costs are significant but less so than the ramifications of false results being introduced into the process (intentional or not)
    • This is not an easy "but." Most cases generate aggregate billing across all facets of the case at a rate of five or six figures monthly, and it is already easy to make the claim that the finance limits in every case are the most direct limits on just outcomes.

      Who is going to pay the significant costs? And at the expense of what other part of the case that might have had them instead? There are many victims and defendants that would argue that the first thing that ought to be paid for is increased time for t

      • You don't need to double-test everything. When a manufacturer produces 1 million units of a product, they don't test every single one. They pull out about one unit per thousand or one per ten thousand and test the sample. Yes that means some bad units get through. But the sampling will give you a statistical idea what percentage of the units are bad. That gives you a basis for improving the system if the flaw rate is higher than you deem acceptable. And perhaps most relevant to this case, it'll let yo
        • by rl117 ( 110595 ) <rleighNO@SPAMcodelibre.net> on Saturday October 31, 2015 @03:10PM (#50838593) Homepage
          For QC based on individual items, you might test a small percentage, for batch-based products you might also do tests on every batch as a whole at every stage of its production, plus randomised testing of individual packaged units. I used to work in a QC laboratory, doing testing of both. For some tests, we would also run known standards every time we tested an unknown sample, or set of samples to ensure that the results were always accurate, and always ran both multiple replicates of the standard and multiple replicates of each sample to ensure they were consistent within a certain standard deviation. This guards against calibration errors on the machines and errors on the part of the sample prep or operator. We would occasionally also send samples to external independent laboratories to verify the accuracy of our processes. In this case it wasn't forensics, and there was no need for anonymising the samples. For forensics, I would have hoped that they would also be running anonymous control samples through the pipeline as well (both negative and varying degrees of positive) to validate their process. The technicians don't even need to be aware of it--you simply introduce them as incoming test samples and then validate that the results matched the expectations after testing is done and logged.
    • by brxndxn ( 461473 )
      How about.. 'guilty' tests need to be verified by an independent lab..
      • by Qzukk ( 229616 )

        Who is going to pay for that? The police, who will stop sending samples and money to the lab that tells them "You're wrong" too often?

        • Who is going to pay for that? The police, who will stop sending samples and money to the lab that tells them "You're wrong" too often?

          Who is paying to lock people up for years? Compared to that cost lab tests are trivial.

          The police should have no say about the labs. These should be certified and run by professionals, with quality control procedures in place (blind test samples in the test stream, etc.), with regular reviews. You know, like real labs. "Police labs" are not real labs.

    • Have the crime lab test a series of random samples periodically. Get random objects from the police department or the prosecutor's office. If any come back positive, something is going on. Better quality control techniques would vary the amount of drugs (or DNA) on the object and this would show how accurate and reproducible the lab's technique is at detecting it.

      A big problem in these cases is that no quality control is being done whatsoever!

  • What do they mean, "can't figure out how to repair the damage." This is total nonsense. It's pretty easy to figure out what to do but likly complicated in execution. Everyone that was convicted on the basis of any test performed by the crime lab should have their record cleared and if still incarcerated, released. Next, compensation for any lost income, with interest, should be paid, including legal fees. For those who lost a job or could not get a job because of a phony criminal record should likewise be c
  • The Slate article is worth reading. Scandal 1: The lying, conscienceless lab workers and the short (2 and 3 year) prison terms they received for their crimes, compared to those they convicted. Scandal 2: The Massachusetts State Attorney General that knew they were using falsified evidence and covered it up. Scandal 3: Each of the wrongly convicted 30,000 to 60,000 individual prisoners has to hire an attorney to fight for his own release. Which is difficult to do without any sort of income. Scandal 4: The fe
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @11:54AM (#50838065) Homepage Journal

    I've been the Hinton Lab in Jamaica Plain dozens of times. The people I worked with there from the lowest lab tech to the middle managers were outstanding, but they were in the epidemiology end of things. The drug testing lab was segregated on its own floor, and it was walled off like a fortress. But despite that superficial formidability of the drug testing lab, there was clearly a problem: back in 2007 the director of the crime lab resigned because mishandling DNA tests, and before that the lab had been in trouble for processing DNA too slowly. There were rape kits that had been waiting to be processed for eighteen years.

    Yet despite the review of the crime lab's procedures that followed this scandal, Annie Dookhan was able to continue with her antics for an other four years before she was caught. It's odd that she was even hired with her phony degrees because that was the year it came out that Ralph Timperi, the Hinton Lab's overall director, got his PhD from a diploma mill. You'd think that'd trigger a little more scrutiny.

    It all makes the entire Hinton Lab sound like a hot mess, but with the exception of Timperi's phony degree all the problems were in the crime lab, which while located inside the Hinton Lab building was (IIRC) actually overseen by the Massachusetts State Police. Possibly some kind of responsibility thing was going on there. On the public health side of things the people at the state labs were among of the best public employees I've ever dealt with, and I've worked with state and county agencies across the country. It's a shame they've been tainted.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      There were rape kits that had been waiting to be processed for eighteen years.

      And what do you suppose would hapen if priorities were reversed? If evidence for rape/murder convictions was processed in a timely manner, but drug evidence was shelved for years? The DEA would shit themselves and come after state officials. Because the DEA has nothing better to do than protect its business model and law enforcement market share.

      Close the DEA. Delegate it's duties to the FDA and FBI.

  • blame the man (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DrProton ( 79239 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @12:56PM (#50838227)

    I blame management, the prosecutors, and the judges. There was a serious lack of oversight, obviously.

    Let's say she worked 250 days/year, a conservative assumption. That means she was averaging ~ 6E4/(9*250) ~ 27 analyses/day. Assuming 8 hours actual work/day, that means she was completing an analysis roughly every 18 minutes. I'm a physicist. I've worked in a manufacturing facility with a chem lab that analyzed production samples. Hell, sample prep can take 20 minutes! There is no way she was completing these analyses accurately. Her boss must have known something was amiss. A reasonable assumption is that he or she knew so and had wink/nod arrangement with the prosecutors and the courts.

    Our "justice" system is deeply flawed, and this is more evidence of the systemic flaws in it. Kudos to Ms. Lithwick for covering this beat.

  • After sitting through a jury selection process, I have figured out that even this, supposedly fair process, is deeply broken in favor of the prosecution. If you are honest and don't agree with an overly harsh mandatory sentencing law, or don't trust cops implicitly, or are willing to accept that you may have one of many biases, which research shows we ALL have; then you will be disqualified.

    Sitting there, observing the people who quickly figured out the exact right things to say to NOT be disqualified, especially after hearing how those same people talked while we were waiting outside of the courtroom, I can't help but believe those are the people who are eager to vote "guilty." I met several others who came to this same conclusion.

    So, once a cop has decided to arrest you, large parts of the system seem to have been "gerrymandered" in a way to drastically increase the probability of conviction. I call it, "The law of secretly intended consequences."

  • We need to rehash all the posts from almost 3 years ago?

  • Since all 34,000 cases were tainted have the 34,000 convictions been reversed and the victims made whole? And why the heck is a three year sentence issued for such a radical and harmful criminal in the lab work? Or worse yet does this imply that all lab work done in all law enforcement agencies is suspect and should be a matter for appeals courts for every conviction whether for murder or drug crimes?
  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @02:30PM (#50838501)

    Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can't figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.

    I would suggest that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts pay more attention on how to repair the damage their drug laws have wrought (alas, not single handledly); by comparison, Ms Dookhan's damages are a drop in the ocean. I have no doubt that three decades from now the Commonwealth will be arguing over this. As a starter, how about freeing everyone convicted of a marijuana offense, overturning their convictions, and returning (or recompensing) any seized property?

  • by niftymitch ( 1625721 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @02:43PM (#50838543)

    What is the state of the samples?
    If the sample integrity has been maintained retesting is possible.

    My bias is that the war on drugs has become vastly worse than the drugs themselves.
    Given my bias and opinion based cost analysis all drug offenders should be released
    with time served rubber stamps. The war on drugs has caused astounding social
    damage in the US and much of the world. Can we say "war zone" children.
    The WOD money would better be spent on the social and medical needs and consequences.

    Addiction is very serious but once money is removed all of the associated crimes involved in
    the financing of addiction are vastly reduced both domestic and international. Addiction does
    cause harm to individuals. The WOD causes harm to communities and even nations.

    The bigger fish involving truck loads of stuff and money are unlikely to be impacted.

    Crack and meth are so evil that each citizen should be required to cultivate a marijuana
    plant of old green simply to make a less harmful choice available.

    Drug addiction is real and a problem --- the WOD is worse.

  • Criminal Scam Implementors?
  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Saturday October 31, 2015 @05:29PM (#50839053)
    "Three years later, the state of Massachusetts still can't figure out how to repair the damage she wrought almost single-handedly.

    Single handedly? sorry, she was considered the Go-To Person to test your samples by many DA's in Mass.

    It's ludicrous to think that any person can be the go-to person unless they deliver the results you want - which is a conviction - even if it's forged. DA's are elected, and have you ever seen one that wasn't "Tough on Crime". or bragged about their conviction rate in their election campaigns?

    They knew - they just didn't care.

  • by Dereck1701 ( 1922824 ) on Sunday November 01, 2015 @09:36AM (#50841967)

    She destroyed the lives of almost certainly hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent people and all she gets is three years? Our "justice" system is insane, hold up a 7-11 with a toy gun and get thrown jail for longer than that, steal billions from millions of people and you see no time at all. Shoot someone kicking through your front door at 3am (without a badge) and get convicted of murder, shoot an 84 year old grandma in bed (with a badge) and its called an "accident" and left unpunished.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun