It is unprecedented in this blog to report so many times on one event. However, this type of event needs constant and repeated discussion.
The Fukushima of Forensics: Annie Dookhan. Has been covered here before:
- Yet another crime lab scandal — the real question is how many failures until they get caught and when is enough enough?
- The poster child for everything that is wrong in forensic science: Annie Dookhan
- The Fukushima of Forensics: Annie Dookhan
- What to do with 60,000 cases involving Annie Dookhan?
- More on Annie Dookhan: Three cheers to the Boston Globe
- Why Confrontation of the Particular Witness must be mandatory: Annie Dookhan
Do you know why convenience stores have security cameras?
- to deter crime against the store;
- to catch those who have taken money from the register;
- to catch shoplifters;
- to catch employees who steal from the company;
- to see when employees leave early or come in late;
- to record when crime happens; and
- to aid in the prosecution of those who cheat the store or rob the store.
It seems like such a basic safeguard that there would be no legitimate argument against having it. Who would want to work in a convenience store without it? By having it there, legitimate customers feel safer and are in truth safer.
How about banks? They have security cameras for the same reasons.
Motion activated cameras are inexpensive.
Memory is dirt cheap.
Who can legitimately argue against these omnipresent fixtures in our lives?
In a FaceBook world, our expectation of privacy is less and less and less.
As a society, why do we have better safeguards against fraud and against crime at a 7-Eleven than we do in a crime laboratory?
The simple salient take away fact from the Annie Dookhan situation that we can all appreciate is that the traditional safeguards such as human integrity, and the Confrontation Clause will not stop the Annie Dookhans of this world. She was willing to put her hand on the Bible, swear an oath and repeatedly lie in Court about her credentials. She was willing to forge documents of her coworkers. She was willing to purposefully contaminate samples to change the results to suit her own meaningless selfish agenda. When someone is willing to do all of this and goodness knows what else, the traditional safeguards are worthless.
Confrontation cannot stop all of that. Human integrity is not a sufficient check against these transgressions.
It’s time that we just put an end to it all. It’s time we call for the ultimate forensic safeguard. Let’s video tape the labs.