In a maddening scandal that is rocking the state of Massachusetts, a government crime lab chemist has been caught intentionally forging signatures and tampering with evidence in as many as 40,000 cases, destroying the lives of countless innocent Americans.
Annie Dookhan worked as a chemist for the State of Massachusetts, and it turns out she had close relations with prosecutors.
These prosecutors were able to successfully convict innocent Americans because Dookhan would chemically taint the “evidence,” resulting in career boosts for the prosecutors while innocent men and women were torn from their families and locked in cells.
But in a system which pays the crime labs per conviction this type of total injustice was inevitable and you can be sure this is not an isolated incident.
In an article back in 2013 the Huffington post printed a summary of a new paper for the journal Criminal Justice Ethics which looked at how the criminal justice system actually incentivizes wrongful convictions.
Acadiana Crime Lab
Ray Wickenheiser says, ‘‘Collection of court costs is the only stable source of funding for the Acadiana Crime Lab. $10 is received for each guilty plea or verdict from each speeding ticket, and $50 from each DWI (Driving While Impaired) and drug offense.’’
Broward County Crime Lab
Monies deposited in the Trust Fund are principally court costs assessed upon conviction of driving or boating under the influence ($50) or selling, manufacturing, delivery, or possession of a controlled substance ($100).’
Illinois crime labs
receive fees upon convictions for sex offenses, controlled substance offenses, and those involving driving under the influence. Mississippi crime labs require crime laboratory fees for various conviction types, including arson, aiding suicide, and driving while intoxicated
With similar provisions in Alabama, New Mexico, Kentucky, New Jersey, Virginia, and, until recently, Michigan.
Other states have broadened the scope even further. Washington statutes require a $100 crime lab fee for any conviction that involves lab analysis. Kansas statutes require offenders ‘‘to pay a separate court cost of $400 for every individual offense if forensic science or laboratory services or forensic computer examination services are provided in connection with the investigation.’’
This is a prime example of how the system is designed to allow dangerous evil individuals such as Annie Dookhan to commit such crimes. Thousands of people may of been wrongly charged for offences they did not commit and in many cases may still be sitting behind bars as the US Government four years on fail to correct their catastrophic failures.
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