Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Dechaine case deserves greater exposure

May 22, 2015

Portland Press Herald

Twelve years ago, Maine’s Legislature ordered the attorney general to open his “confidential file” on the Dechaine case. Now, under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, anybody can see that file.

Documents there prove that prosecutors presented false testimony (detectives’ claims that Dechaine made incriminating admissions), and incinerated DNA evidence (bloody fingernails, vaginal swabs, hair on Sarah’s body known to be neither hers nor Dechaine’s) just before an appeal where he’d repeat the request for DNA tests he’d made even before his trial, a request prosecutors opposed and prevented back then. There’s more in that file, much more.

One bloody thumbnail did survive because a court clerk mistakenly returned it to defense lawyer Thomas Connolly after Dechaine’s trial. Tested, it revealed DNA from Sarah, herself, and an unknown male – not Dechaine.

That “confidential file,” plus DNA and eminent forensic pathologists’ reports regarding the time of death (science doesn’t care who wins) prove that Dechaine couldn’t possibly have committed this crime.

Trial Judge Carl Bradford refuses to admit this evidence.

Most puzzling is why the Portland Press Herald refuses to examine that “confidential file” and tell Mainers what’s there. Is that too much work, or is the newspaper too timid? Instead, all the Press Herald gives us is those easy “he said/he said” articles.

Some say the newspaper is sore because my book, “Human Sacrifice,” did what the newspaper should have done: examine all the evidence. Back in 2006, I offered $1,000 to anyone who could point to a single false statement I make in that book regarding the evidence or the official misconduct. Nobody has yet tried to take my $1,000. Doesn’t that tell you anything? The offer still stands.

Now the AG fights again to prevent a trial where a jury of honest Mainers hears all the evidence.

What’s wrong with this picture?

James P. Moore

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