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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Call For More Oversight Of Crime Labs

In August 2012, Massachusetts officials closed a state drug laboratory in Boston because a then-obscure chemist allegedly “failed to follow testing protocols.” That chemist, Annie Dookhan, has been charged with deliberately manipulating drug tests, compromising thousands of criminal cases. (Joe Spurr/WBUR)

In August 2012, Massachusetts officials closed a state drug laboratory in Boston because a then-obscure chemist allegedly “failed to follow testing protocols.” That chemist, Annie Dookhan, has been charged with deliberately manipulating drug tests, compromising thousands of criminal cases. (Joe Spurr/WBUR)

Popular ideas about police crime labs have been formed by television programs like “NCIS” and “CSI,” where highly trained, usually ethical technicians use science to solve crimes and put criminals behind bars.

But recent major scandals are challenging those perceptions, and prompting some in Congress to consider legislation aimed at improving oversight of the nation’s crime labs. Critics are skeptical that reform is likely.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Deborah Becker of WBUR reports.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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