Lawyer says censure didn’t stop chemist
The rogue chemist accused of tampering with drug evidence in as many as 34,000 criminal cases appeared in court to testify about drug cases months after she was suspended from duty, a defense attorney told the Herald.
“Obviously her handling of the cases is one thing, but to come to court and present yourself as an expert when they’ve already removed her from her responsibilities is a bit more egregious,” said Falmouth attorney James Powderly.So, not only was this chemist falsifying data, but she was appearing in court after being suspended. And no one thought to, oh, I don't know, make sure she wasn't appearing in court or anything? This entire case is just rotten - we have a chemist with falsified degree claims working unsupervised and appearing in court after being suspended from the lab. No one - not her supervisors, not the DA, not any single person from the court system or her supervisory chain of command - has been shown to have any input on her work from day one.
She's accused of tampering with tens of thousands of cases - over a career spanning nearly a decade, that's several thousand cases a year. I have no idea how many cases a single chemist processes in a year, but it would seem to me that at 34K cases over a 10 year career, 3,400 cases per year would work out to nearly two cases per hour - at the most cursory level, didn't anyone stop to ask why this one chemist was processing so many cases? I understand that a lot of this is run in batches, but I also know that there's a very specific chain-of-custody that must be followed in criminal cases - and it does not appear to have been followed very closely for anything even remotely connected to this person.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There are some very serious charges against this person, and she could be facing some serious jail time should she be convicted of some of the more serious ones. If, as some commenters in the article claim, she's being scapegoated, she had better hope that she has a great lawyer. But what's most telling, though, is that there is ZERO information given as to whether her supervisors are also under investigation - which tells me that they're not.
Even assuming that she *was* this rogue chemist running roughshod over lab protocols, it is positively mind-boggling that she was allowed to do so for as long as she was with apparently no oversight whatsoever. There's no mention of charges brought against any supervisors; there's no mention of supervisors getting fired; even if she was doing all of this on her own, was no one overseeing her work? Was she completely autonomous while working on samples that directly impacted ongoing criminal cases? There are a lot of frightening implications here, especially since she has admitted to changing negative results to positive in certain cases.
And, of course, there's a larger question here. Why? Why was she falsifying results? Why would she be changing negatives to positives? Was it a personal vendetta? Did she fancy herself some sort of Batman-like chemist, taking out her vengeance against the criminal community by adding on charges? Did the lab receive incentives for indicted criminals? There has to be some reason why she would throw away her entire career to do this. And again, what were her supervisors doing this entire time?
The larger picture, of course, is that this is the state that wants us to dial 911 rather than face aggressors; that thinks we cannot be trusted to own certain pieces of metal without state approval; that thinks only the local police can decide if someone is "suitable" to own certain pieces of metal. And yet here they can't even oversee one chemist in one lab charged with providing the evidence needed to convict or acquit a criminal charged with a drug crime. The state is supposed to be this all-powerful entity that can keep us safe and decide what we can or cannot own for our own self defense, yet they can't even keep watch on those tasked with deciding whether we are guilty or innocent.
It's hard to accept that I should subvert my will to the state when they've been proven to be grossly inept in cases such as this.
That is all.