BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Deval Patrick is pushing his administration to move forward in collecting information related to potentially mishandled evidence at the state drug lab in Jamaica Plain. He met with members of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association to discuss the investigation and to urge their cooperation in working with defense attorneys and the judicial system.
The lab was shut down last month after State Police discovered a chemist, identified as Annie Dookhan, allegedly failed to follow protocols in drug testing. As many as 60,000 drug samples may have been compromised, calling into question thousands of drug convictions.
Defense attorney Veronica White was in court Wednesday seeking a bail reduction for her client, 51-year-old Marcus Pixley, who faces a ten year sentence for allegedly selling drugs to an undercover officer and resisting arrest. “I’m asking my client be released to the streets to conduct a proper investigation,” she argued in Suffolk Superior Court.
White says Dookhan was the chemist who tested evidence in the case, and now questions the reliability. “Do we actually have the same drugs that were found at the scene, was the weight altered in anyway, or the purity levels, I don’t know,” she tells WBZ-TV.
The judge lowered Pixley’s five thousand dollars bail to one thousand, but White is also moving to have the case dismissed altogether. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley calls it a “monumental concern” and says some defendants have to be released “in the interest of justice and fairness.”
“The breadth and scope of the breach at the state lab is of a magnitude never seen,” he said.
District attorneys still have to match samples to cases to get a handle on which cases Annie Dookhan touched and which defendants have been affected by her work, said Conley.