The criminal cases of more than 40,000 people could have tainted by Annie Dookhan, a Massachusetts state chemist.

That's according to a lawyer appointed to review the cases handled by Dookhan, who is accused of faking test results at a now closed state lab.  

Governor Deval Patrick's administration had previously estimated Dookhan falsified test results in as many as 34,000 cases.

Attorney David Meier, who was appointed by Patrick to assess the scope of the scandal, said he finished digging through evidence files and the number of people affected is thousands more than expected.
 
“We physically examined evidence control cards, drug receipts, chain of custody forms, by going to the laboratory and looking at documents, and by methodically turning over page by page as many laboratory documents as we could in order to determine if there are additional names,” Meier said.
 
According to the Patrick administration, 337 inmates have already been released because of the scandal.

Anthony Benedetti, of the Massachusetts’ Committee for Public Counsel Services, said his office and the ACLU want the supreme judicial court to vacate tens of thousands of convictions.

“There are a number of people, who have gone through the system, already served their sentence or delay with their conviction," he said. "Those people are just as entitled to justice as anyone else who has had their day in court.”

The next step is meetings - lots of them. Attorney David Meier said he will sit down with prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges to share the list of names.

Meanwhile, Dookhan’s criminal trial is scheduled to begin January 6. She has pleaded not guilty.