Friday, October 5, 2012

Didn't See This Coming...

Another dispatch from the BLNN. I wish I could say this surprises me, but it doesn't in the least. What's surprising, really, is that we haven't heard a hundred more stories like these...

Criminal freed over Mass. lab scandal now fugitive
BOSTON (AP) - A career criminal and convicted rapist whose bail was reduced after a chemist was accused of mishandling drug samples at a state lab failed to show up for a court date and is now a fugitive, authorities said Thursday.
Marcus Pixley was awaiting trial in a 2011 arrest on charges of possession and distribution of crack cocaine and resisting arrest. His lawyer successfully argued this month that his bail should be lowered because the drugs in his case were tested by Annie Dookhan, a chemist charged with obstruction of justice and accused of faking test results, skipping protocols and mixing drug samples at a now-closed state lab.
Thousands of cases are at risk because of this one person's shoddy or fraudulent work. Thousands. Why was there no oversight whatsoever of this person whose work was directly related to active criminal cases in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts? I'll bet you a shiny dollar that there are multiple six figure assistant supervisors who *should* have been reviewing her work, but obviously weren't. Why aren't they fired as well?

The problem with picking one lone chemist as a scapegoat is that it gives the appearance that there are no checks and balances whatsoever in the entire MA crime lab system. If thousands of convictions are being appealed on the basis of the work of one chemist, and some have been successful, then it hints that her work may have been totally unreviewed - else why would these criminals have been set free? At the very least she introduced reasonable doubt and an excuse to reopen the case.

This fugitive from justice is not only on her hands, but those of her supervisors at the State Crime Lab.

That is all.

4 comments:

mikee said...

I worked a college job running biological samples (thousands of them) looking for "contaminants" across wide areas of western states.

I got an extreme result one day. When I asked my boss about it, he said, "Oh, yeah, the sample supplier includes a random sample every now and then with a high count or a low count to insure we're really running these, and not just making up the results."

That was back in 1978. I suspect people have known much longer than that how to verify lab performance.

Stretch said...

Once you accept the fact the Massachusetts State Government is, in and of itself, a criminal organization the rest makes sad sense.

Fred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amiable Dorsai said...

mikee has it right: labs need to be checked. If a police lab is not challenged by prepared samples now and then, their results must be acknowledged as as useless. It is standard for other labs to be checked, if I were on a jury, and did not hear about how the police lab was checked, I would assume their results were useless.