The drug analyst who was fired for misstating her credentials allegedly falsely testified in federal court as recently as August that she has a degree in chemistry and possibly did so in dozens of state court cases as well, opening the door for a flood of new legal challenges related to the Hinton drug lab scandal.The explanation is somewhat tragic, really:
The analyst, Kate Corbett, was fired by the State Police Friday for allegedly asserting that she holds a degree in chemistry from Merrimack College, though investigators determined that her degree is in sociology.
Corbett has not been accused of tampering with evidence, a charge that led to the conviction of Annie Dookhan, the woman at the center of the lab scandal.
But Corbett’s declarations in court that she is an expert with a chemistry degree could potentially derail convictions in those cases, say legal analysts, who say her testimony would be tainted.
However, State Police conducted background checks on the chemists’ education to ensure that the analysts met the agency’s standards for accreditation, and superiors learned of the discrepancies with Corbett’s education.
According to a State Police report obtained by the Globe, Corbett earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Merrimack College in 2001, though she claimed on her resume that she obtained a degree in chemistry in 2003.
A State Police investigation concluded that, in the two years after she first earned the sociology degree, she took enough credits that she believed would satisfy a chemistry degree. However, according to the State Police report, Corbett assumed she had earned a second degree without confirming it with Merrimack College.
Also, according to the report, she would not have qualified for a second degree because she would have had to take an additional set of coursework to meet bachelor of science requirements.I think her dismissal was the right response from an organization that is being seen as less than competent, charitably speaking. It's fairly apparent to me that her management is (yet again) at fault -- she started working for the lab in 2005. If her credentials were important (and it sure sounds like they were), then they should have been examined by her superiors.