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Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:12 AM

Mass. Chemist Faked Drug Tests, Thousands Wrongly Convicted.


http://news.yahoo.com/mass-chemist-drug-test-flap-arrested-160136833.html

A Massachusetts chemist accused of faking drug test results now finds herself in the same position as the accused drug dealers she testified against: charged with a crime and facing years in prison.

Annie Dookhan, 34, of Franklin, was arrested Friday in a burgeoning investigation that has already led to the shutdown of a state drug lab, the resignation of the state's public health commissioner and the potential upending of thousands of criminal cases.

"Annie Dookhan's alleged actions corrupted the integrity of the entire criminal justice system," state Attorney General Martha Coakley said during a news conference after Dookhan's arrest. "There are many victims as a result of this."

Dookhan faces more than 20 years in prison on charges of obstruction of justice and falsely pretending to hold a degree form a college or university.

Dookhan's alleged mishandling of drug samples prompted the shutdown of the Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Boston last month.

State police say Dookhan tested more than 60,000 drug samples involving 34,000 defendants during her nine years at the lab. Defense lawyers and prosecutors are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the fallout.


She also apparently lied under oath about having a degree.

I have to question a justice system where so many people could be convicted on the word of one person, whose integrity, credentials and procedures were apparently never checked over nine years.

53 replies, 6410 views

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Arrow 53 replies Author Time Post
Reply Mass. Chemist Faked Drug Tests, Thousands Wrongly Convicted. (Original post)
caseymoz Sep 2012 OP
Confusious Sep 2012 #1
caseymoz Sep 2012 #3
HiPointDem Sep 2012 #6
Confusious Sep 2012 #9
harmonicon Sep 2012 #12
Confusious Sep 2012 #14
harmonicon Sep 2012 #15
MADem Sep 2012 #28
glowing Sep 2012 #18
Gormy Cuss Sep 2012 #38
grasswire Sep 2012 #2
B Calm Sep 2012 #4
caseymoz Sep 2012 #29
The Wizard Sep 2012 #5
silvershadow Sep 2012 #7
midnight Sep 2012 #8
Scairp Sep 2012 #10
Mopar151 Sep 2012 #16
Mariana Sep 2012 #20
Mopar151 Sep 2012 #22
TheMadMonk Sep 2012 #21
Mopar151 Sep 2012 #23
caseymoz Sep 2012 #31
orleans Sep 2012 #11
RainDog Sep 2012 #13
Warren DeMontague Sep 2012 #17
bluestate10 Sep 2012 #26
-..__... Sep 2012 #42
malaise Sep 2012 #19
ck4829 Sep 2012 #24
bluestate10 Sep 2012 #25
caseymoz Sep 2012 #36
smirkymonkey Sep 2012 #44
Scootaloo Sep 2012 #52
porphyrian Sep 2012 #27
Bluenorthwest Sep 2012 #30
2on2u Sep 2012 #32
lonestarnot Sep 2012 #33
2on2u Sep 2012 #37
-..__... Sep 2012 #43
2ndAmForComputers Sep 2012 #49
Turbineguy Sep 2012 #34
hughee99 Sep 2012 #39
Turbineguy Sep 2012 #47
hughee99 Sep 2012 #48
99Forever Sep 2012 #35
jsr Sep 2012 #40
ck4829 Sep 2012 #41
obamanut2012 Sep 2012 #45
dixiegrrrrl Sep 2012 #46
Kennah Sep 2012 #50
Cobalt Violet Sep 2012 #51
obxhead Sep 2012 #53

Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:16 AM

1. I'm surprised they didn't have someone

Double check the results for something like this.

Seems it's a state Fup also.

The hard part would be finding which drug, and then once you had a positive, running a double check would, it seems to me, take less time?

Maybe I'm wrong on that?

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Response to Confusious (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:34 AM

3. She was finishing 550 tests a month . . .


. . . when others averaged between 100-150. That should have been a red flag right there. Instead, the Department seemed to favor her "productivity"!

Apparently, they had so many tests to do that management decisions were made on the basis of efficiency. Double-checking adds to costs and isn't efficient.

So, apparently they have a lot of cost and inefficiency to clean up now.

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:14 AM

6. is it only *one* person who does drug tests for an entire state?

 

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Response to caseymoz (Reply #3)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:47 AM

9. Oh, F yea, a lot of turds to clean up

The mother of all turds.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 05:14 AM

12. I don't know about drug tests...

but I used to work at a lab that did other kinds of tests (soil, water, factory run-offs, etc.), and we were the only lab in the state apart from the government lab that could handle a lot of what we did. Despite the existence of the state lab, the state and some surrounding states were clients. If these were specialized tests, I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't reasonable to have them done by two different places (if anything seemed especially anomalous at my lab, it would get run again).

Isn't not having to do things twice part of what you're paying for when you have qualified professionals do something?

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 05:48 AM

14. On one hand, you have a point

On the other, you're putting someone in prison.

Some things, like water tests, get run all the time.

Blood tests are going to be one time, and may send someone to jail for a very long time.


I guess I just like the backup when things are mission critical, to use a worn out phrase.

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Response to Confusious (Reply #14)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:01 AM

15. Oh, these things could have landed a lot of people in prison...

but probably not as immediately.

I do agree with you about the importance of this. This story is a real tragedy. I was just trying to give you a semi-informed answer to your question about double testing.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #15)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:39 AM

28. Eleven hundred people, specifically...and they have an axe to grind.

It looks like there will be consequences--the woman is out on bail now, but the governor on down have weighed in on this.

She's been at this for a long, long time. It will reverberate for years, I'm guessing.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:20 AM

18. I worked in an environmental testing lab

 

and certain projects did have to have 2 different certified lab tests. On top of that, we had certify our lab every year with a state sample run of known quantities to make sure our analysis was correct and machines were properly calibrated. An off test, and we would get shut down. The best way for us to handle the samples was to pretend it was another job.

Not let anyone know it was a test sample; so they didn't feel the pressure and do something dumb. As a lab manager, I would know and kept an eye on what was processing and what the techs were doing, but pretended it was an important client and was "hot". Didn't seem as weird if I was helping process then.

On the other hand, I did find some really fast ways to increase productivity, receive great results, but skew the method just a tad bit.

I'm no longer in the chemical slew and crap we were testing. I was getting a toxic overload.

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Response to harmonicon (Reply #12)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:27 AM

38. Retesting a random sampling at a different facility would be smart QC.

Even properly qualified professionals aren't a guarantee of quality work. Even in well run facilities things go wrong -an individual who likes to cut corners, malfunctioning equipment, inadequate lab controls, etc. happen.

The cost of quality control is minor compared to the cost of dealing with a mess like this one but more importantly, there is no way to correct the way sloppy or fraudulent results have affected people's lives.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:23 AM

2. what a colossal mess

This is going to cost Massachusetts a LOT of money.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 03:51 AM

4. Are jails are filled with non violent

 

drug offenders. Let them out!

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Response to B Calm (Reply #4)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:41 AM

29. It's a step worse if they're filled with non-offenders.


Innocent people who've committed no crime, nonviolent or otherwise.

The only thing that could be worse imaginably than that is arrest-and-sentence by quota, as they did in the Soviet Union during The Terror.

This stinks of the same sloppiness that so distinguished those cases, where innocence isn't even a consideration.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:11 AM

5. Like with other wars

In the War on Drugs the first casualty is truth. Think of all the prison guards and prison construction amd law enforcement that cost the taxpayers billions.
"War is a Racket"
(General Smedley D. Butler, USMC, Retired)

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Response to The Wizard (Reply #5)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:42 AM

7. Smedley would be rolling over in his grave at the privatization of the prison system to

 

a for-profit business. Add to that, marijuana wasn't even illegal until around 1930 (forget the year and details), but he would have been in his 50's when that happened. Wonder if he foresaw any of this?

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:47 AM

8. You are right to question info. coming from our legal system... There is a huge divide between law

and science... And in-between is a lot of money... Who pays for the science... Look at Monsanto Science...

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:55 AM

10. They have to release all of them

Anyone ever sent to prison because of her perjury and laziness has to be set free. This is appalling. I do hope they can figure out a way to stop people like this. And she also got away with lying about having a degree and got this job anyway? That part I don't get, how did she ever get into a lab in the first place? Just mindboggling. Are LE so anxious to throw people in prison they will allow a con artist to make up evidence to do so? They are just as bad as she is.

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Response to Scairp (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:02 AM

16. It's Massachusetts. Stuff like this happens all the time.

Political patronage is an art form, and much of state and local government is riddled with graft and corruption. There are so many "authourities" and "comissions" that it's hard to figure out who runs anything, or where any of the money goes. Hard work and integrity are for suckers.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 07:26 AM

20. That kind of thing is hardly unique to Massachusetts. nt.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #20)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:44 AM

22. Sadly, you are right. Does'nt make it good. nt

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #16)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 07:50 AM

21. Not even that. Just no one bothering to fully check a resume.

 

Perhaps a photo with a couple of slightly out of focus diplomas in the background for window dressing.

You might be surprised at the number of mid to high level office denizens who lack some or even all of the credentials and/or experience they lay claim to.

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Response to TheMadMonk (Reply #21)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 08:46 AM

23. A lot of the real diplomas are meaningless. n./t

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Response to Scairp (Reply #10)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:50 AM

31. Article doesn't say what was on her resume,


But in one case, she testified that she had a Masters of Chemistry degree from the University of Massachusetts, but she didn't. She might have put a different Chemistry degree on her resume, but judging by how she approached all these cases, they should check all of that.

Surprisingly, they haven't hit her for perjury, but I'm thinking they must be looking into that.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 04:56 AM

11. omg n/t

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 05:34 AM

13. check out this one in Good Reads

http://www.democraticunderground.com/101643159

How to Get Arrested Without Really Trying (or) Fuck the War on Drugs

September 21, 2012 - J. Bennett Rylah

Being arrested was on my bucket list. I assumed it would be for unpaid parking tickets, but hoped it would be for overturning a cop car at a protest. But I got arrested in a strange way, I suppose. Here’s how you too can go from being a working class professional and wind up a criminal without doing much.

WHEN A SWAT TEAM IS THE ONLY GUEST AT YOUR HOUSEWARMING PARTY

Dear, Penthouse. I was sitting on the couch in a pair of pink panties and a wifebeater. It was the third of May, but also unseasonably warm. My partner, Shawn, and I had recently started a labor-of-love blog about terrible motels called MurderMotels.com. The rule is you have to find a terrible motel using TripAdvisor or some other site and then force yourself to stay in it all night, save a little exploring of the city it’s in. I’d been eyeing one in the small town of Morley (Michigan’s trucking capital based on number of truckers in residence) for a while and tonight, we were going. Having watched too much Dexter, I’d ordered a supply of Luminol and was mixing it up in a small bottle.

It was mid-afternoon on a weekday. I was home because I work as the Managing Editor of a publication that specializes in news about urban revitalization, entrepreneurship and social justice. I’m an independent contractor, so I work from a lot of places that aren’t an office. But today, I was done with work. Shawn was on break from school. So, we were sort of relaxing. I had just moved into his place the night before. We were in love, I think. I was the happiest I’d ever been in my life, perhaps.

Then there was a guy on the lawn. I thought maybe it was this catering company that’d been outside earlier, but it was a police officer in full SWAT gear. I said, “Look. It’s the police!” I think I was excited, maybe.

And then’s when the officer seemed alarmed that we’d seen him, and looked towards our door, where a small group of them had gathered. And just like on TV… Open up. It’s the police.

There were several of them. One guy had a battering ram and was disappointed, maybe, that he didn’t get to use it because we’d opened the door on our own. Cops, usually, are like vampires. I don’t invite them in. But I was convinced they needed help. Perhaps this SWAT team needed a place to hunker down. Maybe a maniac was on the loose. They said they had a warrant. They told Shawn to have everyone in the house come outside. I put on pants and met them on the porch. They must be confused, I decided. So I asked them who they were looking for.

“It’s not who,” the officer with us on the porch said. “It’s what.”

Then he took off his sunglasses and The Who started playing. Wait, no. No, that wasn’t it. I asked him “what” he was looking for, and he said, “Marijuana.”

Well, here’s the thing. I had just moved into Shawn’s house the night before, like I said. Prior to this, I lived by myself in a one-bedroom apartment where no teams of armed, flak-jacketed police officers with battering rams ever came over. Shawn’s roommate before me was a guy who had a card to grow medical marijuana. I knew he had a card, and I knew he grew marijuana in the basement. I knew that medical marijuana was legal in the state of Michigan. That’s all I knew.

http://jbennettrylah.com/how-to-get-arrested-without-really-trying-or-fuck-the-police-or-fuck-the-war-on-drugs/

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:15 AM

17. Yay, Drug War!

Another stellar victory in our nation's moral crusade to fill our prison cells with pot smokers!

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Response to Warren DeMontague (Reply #17)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:36 AM

26. Well, fortunately our state voters decriminalized weed possession up to 2 ounces a couple years back

That kept more than a few experimenting teens out of jail.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #26)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:56 AM

42. Up to 1oz... not 2oz

 

Section 32L. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, possession of one ounce or less of marihuana shall only be a civil offense, subjecting an offender who is eighteen years of age or older to a civil penalty of one hundred dollars and forfeiture of the marihuana, but not to any other form of criminal or civil punishment or disqualification. An offender under the age of eighteen shall be subject to the same forfeiture and civil penalty provisions, provided he or she completes a drug awareness program which meets the criteria set forth in Section 32M of this Chapter. The parents or legal guardian of any offender under the age of eighteen shall be notified in accordance with Section 32N of this Chapter of the offense and the availability of a drug awareness program and community service option. If an offender under the age of eighteen fails within one year of the offense to complete both a drug awareness program and the required community service, the civil penalty may be increased pursuant to Section 32N of this Chapter to one thousand dollars and the offender and his or her parents shall be jointly and severally liable to pay that amount.



http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXV/Chapter94C/Section32L

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 06:28 AM

19. Bet she has links to the private prison scumbags n/t

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:03 AM

24. More fun from the War on Drugs

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:34 AM

25. The Massachusetts Crime Lab system is one of the state functions that

was ignored and not funded properly since the Dukakis years. Under a succession of republican Governors, including Mitt Romney, the once great system decayed. Samples went untested or were mishandled. Staff was cut. Labs were grossly understaffed. Incompetent people were hired to save money. No checks were made on qualifications before people were hired. Deval Patrick recognized and started fixing the problem after a high profile fuckup by one lab, but apparently Patrick hasn't been able to fix the system fast enough to get Dookhan out of it earlier. Good progress has been made to correct years of neglect, but this case shows that a lot of work remains.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:16 AM

36. That's what I've put together.


A terrible amount of underfunding here. Dookhan wouldn't have been able to cause this much damage without anything like proper funding and oversight.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #25)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:01 PM

44. +1000

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #25)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 04:54 AM

52. Well, it's win-win.

 

The state locks away a "drug offender?" It's a win! Another "scumbag" off the streets, more money for the Prison Industry, "tough on crime" laws are working!

The accused is cleared? It's a win! Justice prevailed, our state is clean, "tough on crime" laws are working!

There's no incentive on the part of legal system to fund or operate these labs well. If they work "as intended" with no funding as with good funding, then why fund them?

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:37 AM

27. Who was paying her to do this? n/t

 

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:47 AM

30. Anyone who can look at these facts and still support criminalized marijuana is

 

not a good American citizen. This is shameful beyond shame. Criminals putting others in jail falsley using powers of the State.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 10:55 AM

32. I wonder if this affects a person's voting rights.... hmmmm. n/t

 

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Response to 2on2u (Reply #32)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:01 AM

33. Oh gee, a convicted felon? Voting rights? But I bet gun rights go unaffected.

 

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #33)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:18 AM

37. Right on target..... so to speak!! n/t

 

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #33)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:01 PM

43. You must be joking... right?

 

"Gun rights go unaffected"!

In Massachusetts!!

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Response to -..__... (Reply #43)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 01:28 PM

49. Oooooo, the evil, evil New England.

Not Real America like Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky and Arizona. Too many libruls.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:11 AM

34. Romney appointee?

He was Governor when she started.....

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #34)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:45 AM

39. Is any governor personally tasked with appointing individual lab chemists?

I think you're going to have an uphill battle tying this to Romney.

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Response to hughee99 (Reply #39)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 01:02 PM

47. No but people Romney appointed hired her.

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Response to Turbineguy (Reply #47)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 01:24 PM

48. She was hired by someone who worked for someone,

who may have worked for someone who was hired by Romney... and worked for almost 5 years under a Deval Patrick appointee. If you're going to tie this to a governor, it doesn't look good for the current one either.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:15 AM

35. I see a VERY large class action suit ..

... in Mass. future.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:49 AM

40. Thousands of lives damaged, thousands of dreams destroyed

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Response to jsr (Reply #40)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 11:50 AM

41. All necessary losses to fight the war on drugs!

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:02 PM

45. This happens quite a bit

It makes you wonder how many people are actually not guilty of their crimes?

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sat Sep 29, 2012, 12:31 PM

46. Not checking credentials seems to be not that uncommon.

I was hired as supervisor of a large treatment program, and was shocked to find that several people there did not have the degrees they were supposed to have, and were not registered with the state, per state law.
and they had been hired years before I came on board.
Have had that problem in other places I worked, also.

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 02:36 AM

50. From a purely financial perspective ...

... it would be cheaper for Massachusetts to decriminalize marijuana, not retry the cases botched by this, and offer settlements to those wrongfully jailed.

Likelihood of that, I'm guessing, is less than 20 percent.

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Response to Kennah (Reply #50)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 03:18 AM

51. It already is decriminalized here. n/t

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Response to caseymoz (Original post)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 09:22 AM

53. LIFE and a day minimum.

 

She should face life charges without the possibility of parole for this.

Why?

Because of her, 100's or more likely 1000's of years of jail time were handed out to potentially 100% innocent people.

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