Judge: 5 years max for Mass. chemist if she pleads

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Associated Press

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 2:07 PM

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts judge says she won't impose a sentence of more than three to five years if a chemist pleads guilty in a state drug lab scandal.

Annie Dookhan, of Franklin, faces a long list of criminal charges, including tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice and perjury for allegedly faking test results.

Prosecutors are seeking up to seven years if she pleads guilty. The case jeopardized thousands of criminal convictions and cost the state millions.

Dookhan's lawyer has pleaded for leniency, saying her 35-year-old client is terrified of going to jail and leaving her son, who has health issues.

Superior Court Judge Carol Ball said Wednesday that while sentencing guidelines recommend one to three years, the magnitude of the harm done by Dookhan dictates a harsher sentence.

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