Crime and Courts

Epic Massachusetts Crime Lab Scandal May Involve Even Broader Wrongdoing, Judge Says

State authorities said for years that one rogue chemist was behind the compromised drug tests that led to tens of thousands of overturned cases. But a judge says there may be more

Passers-by approach the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute, which houses the Massachusetts state drug lab, in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012.
AP Photo/Steven Senne

A decade-old scandal at a Massachusetts crime lab — which led authorities to dismiss tens of thousands of drug convictions — may involve wrongdoing by more people than was previously known, according to a recent court order. 

A state Superior Court judge said in a ruling related to the release of a trove of state investigative materials that there is evidence that other employees at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute — beyond disgraced former chemist Annie Dookhan — may have engaged in misconduct. At least one person was referred to the state attorney general’s office in 2015 for potential prosecution, Judge John T. Lu wrote last week. 

The ruling stokes lingering doubts about statements by the state inspector general’s office over the past eight years that Dookhan was the “sole bad actor” at the Hinton lab. And it means the vast scandal could grow. 

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