Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Annie Dookhan: Justin J. McShane rejects the "rogue chemist excuse" and notes jury deliberations have begun in the Deborah Madden drug lab trial.

STORIES: "The rogue chemist excuse: Just as real as the boogie man in the closet," and "Jury deliberations begin in SFPD crime lab cocaine theft trial," posted by Justin J. McShane, on "The truth about forensic science," on October 3, 2012.

GIST: "Rogue chemist': "The typ­i­cal sce­nario is that there is a press con­fer­ence where all are told that they fig­ured out the prob­lem and it was iso­lated to one per­son and one per­son only. They claim it is not the whole laboratory. This is the Boo­gie Man in the closet excuse. Of course, there is no such thing as the Boo­gie Man who lives in the closet. Just like there is no such thing as the sole, rogue chemist run a muck. It is an insti­tu­tional problem. While a lot has been reported here about Annie Dookhan, she is not the only per­son and not the Mass­a­chu­setts lab­o­ra­tory involved is not the only lab­o­ra­tory rocked by these types of things. It isn’t aberrant. Mark my words: We are going to see more and more and more of these types of cases as the defense bar becomes more sci­en­tif­i­cally educated."
GIST: "Jury deliberations": "A fed­eral jury began delib­er­at­ing today in the case of a for­mer San Fran­cisco police crime lab­o­ra­tory tech­ni­cian whose pil­fer­ing of cocaine led to the dis­missal of hun­dreds of drug cases. Deb­o­rah Mad­den, 62, of San Mateo, is accused in the court of U.S. Dis­trict Judge Susan Ill­ston in San Fran­cisco of a fed­eral charge of obtain­ing cocaine from the lab in 2009 by means of mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, fraud, forgery, decep­tion or subterfuge. The accu­sa­tion also con­tains a lesser charge of sim­ple pos­ses­sion of cocaine. In clos­ing argu­ments today, Madden’s lawyer, Paul DeMeester, con­ceded that she took small amounts of cocaine and could be found guilty of the lesser charge. But he main­tained there was no proof of the ele­ment of decep­tion or sub­terfuge needed for a con­vic­tion on the heav­ier charge.Ms. Mad­den had access to drugs that were avail­able to her in the lab­o­ra­tory and she sim­ply took them,” DeMeester told the jury.There’s noth­ing schem­ing or fraud­u­lent about it. She’s just tak­ing what’s in front of her when she works,” he said. DeMeester ended by telling the jurors, “The state of the evi­dence com­pels a not-guilty ver­dict on the charged offense, but it also com­pels a guilty ver­dict on the lesser charged offense.” The charge of obtain­ing cocaine through fraud car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of four years in prison if Mad­den is con­victed. The lesser pos­ses­sion charge has a max­i­mum pun­ish­ment of one year in prison. Pros­e­cu­tors con­tended Mad­den engaged in a series of decep­tions in order to be able to steal cocaine, includ­ing stay­ing late at the lab at night in the fall of 2009 so that she could be alone there.

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