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Annie Dookhan could be paying for her crimes for a long time: Judge awards $2.1-million judgment to one of her victims

A federal judge recently awarded a $2.1 million verdict to a man who spent nearly 16 months in jail after disgraced state chemist Annie Dookhan testified the substance police found on him was cocaine.

Dookhan never appeared in federal court to contest Leonardo Johnson's suit. Johnson, 53, was arrested in 2008 on a charge of distribution of cocaine in a school zone, convicted after a trial at which Dookhan testified she had tested the substance and found it to be cocaine, and sentenced to two years in the Suffolk County House of Correction.

That's about the same length of sentence Dookhan got for falsifying thousands of test results at the state lab in Jamaica Plain.

"The substance which served as the basis for this sentence was not, in fact, cocaine, but Defendant Dookhan - a chemist at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory - falsely certified and testified otherwise," US District Court Judge Indira Talwani wrote in an order setting out the amount of the verdict. Talwani based her decision in large part on Johnson's affidavit, in which he detailed the travails he suffered in jail - from rodent droppings in food to fights with cellmates - and the difficulties he has faced since getting work and a place to live:

Plaintiff credibly describes his anger, frustration, helplessness, and despair at being falsely accused, falsely convicted, and falsely imprisoned. He tells of threats to his person, stints in solitary confinement, fights, deprivations of dignity, and disconnection from family and friends.

Plaintiff further avers that his false conviction contributed to post-incarceration difficulties, including unemployment and homelessness.

Based on this record, judgment will be entered in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant Dookhan.

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Comments

Why doesn't Dookhan let him live in her house?

Also, if the guy didn't have coke, then what substance did he have near a school?

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There have been stories in the news about people getting arrested when the powder from a jelly donut tests positive for cocaine in a field test.

Who knows whether the guy was innocent or not. He would need to be retried to prove guilt.

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And we don't know because of all the fake lab results.

Several of her "tests" were not actual tests and were influenced by her wanting to make cops happy.

That's why these people are suing - and, yes, some are innocent.

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They were being forced to do more testing than could be done with the resources they had.

They were punished for asking for the resources that they needed.

They were rewarded for "doing more with less", despite that being mathematically impossible.

It made "conservative" taxpayers happy to not pay for what they needed to pay for, but still put people in jail.

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Innocuous white powders that people might be carrying around include baby powder, baking soda, and sugar, and a great many places are near schools.

That's like arguing that someone must have been in possession of marijuana because it's not plausible that anyone but a professional chef would have oregano.

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But do you go around peddling baking soda on the street? Why was this guy searched for substances?

Keep in mind, I'm on his side and I believe it when I'm told it wasn't coke.

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And by crack, I mean a peanut. Sounded like a good scam. Sell someone "crack" for the street value of crack, then go buy some real crack yourself.

The sad thing is that the defendant will never see anything close to that money, but Dookhan definitely screwed him. I mean, she testified under oath that she tested the evidence and it was cocaine when it was a peanut. Ballsy, but totally wrong. I guess the only justice is that she is getting to know that corner of Framingham out by the old GM Plant.

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