The Annie Dookhan mess: The lingering responsibility of prosecutors to clean it up
WGBH - 12/03/2015
The Boston Globe recently published a letter from Michael O’Keefe, the district attorney for the Cape and Islands, criticizing Yvonne Abraham’s column about the current status of the 2012 drug lab scandal wrought by the actions of rogue chemist Annie Dookhan. O’Keefe properly identified “the lack of oversight of the state Department of Public Health under Governor Patrick” as a key factor in the mess. But O’Keefe was wrong in disputing Abraham’s assignment of ultimate responsibility to our Commonwealth’s prosecutors. Abraham got it right.
Prosecutors play a unique role in our legal system. They are not merely zealous advocates for the government but rather have a dual obligation: to advance the state’s position in criminal cases and simultaneously serve as “ministers of justice” concerned with fairness to all. As a result, they bear special responsibilities to rectify miscarriages of justice.