Annie Dookhan: The Personification of Everything that is Wrong with Cirme Labs

For those readers who don’t know who Annie Dookhan is, here is the rundown.

Recently, The Boston Globe uncovered that Dookhan, who was working at a Massachusetts state drug testing lab compromised evidence in many, many cases.

  • She lied.
  • She forged signatures.
  • She contaminated evidence on purpose.
  • She dry-labbed, meaning she would sim­ply look at the sam­ples instead of test­ing them and form a con­clu­sion and report it out.
"You are judged by numbers in the lab..but there is no excuse for (cheating). -Justin McShane

The scariest part about this episode is that she worked on over 60,000 cases!  There is no telling how many innocent people were thrown into jail because of her fraudulent actions.

In my capacity as a forensics lawyer and the Co-Chair of the Forensic Science subdivision of the Chemistry and the law division of the American Chemical Society, I was recently interviewed for an article on the scandal which was featured on the first page of The Boston Globe.

The Annie Dookhan episode is just the tip of the iceberg.  Unfortunately, this type of conduct can happen in crime labs all over the country including right here in Pennsylvania.  The main factors involved in these crime lab scandals are the unrelenting workloads assigned to the lab technicians and the lack of oversight and corrective action. There is little or no transparency.  When you have this combination of bad practices, you are basically asking for corruption, especially in a culture that emphasizes a fast result rather than the correct result.

For more information and developments in this scandal, please follow our page on The Truth About Forensic Science: Annie Dookhan.


Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

One response to “Annie Dookhan: The Personification of Everything that is Wrong with Cirme Labs”

  • Your diabetes blogs are fascinating. My only first hand experience with diabetes has been a few months with the gestational variety. It was the worst several months of my life, as I controlled it with diet and not insulin. That meant I virtually gave up carbohydrates except for small amounts of berries and fiber cereal. Telling a woman 6 months pregnant that she can’t have that thing she’s craving because it will spike her blood sugar makes for a very cranky preggosaur (especially since I didn’t want to have anything with fake sugar… what with the weird chemicals being possibly transferred to the small tenant, and all). All of this has instilled in me a fervent desire never to develop type 2 diabetes. That said, I didn’t really know anything about Type 1 before. Thanks for sharing all of those experiences – I’ve found all of these diabetes blogs hugely educational.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *