Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Common Ground Fair 2010

Sep 29, 2010

On Sept. 24, 25, and 26, volunteers once again manned Trial & Error’s  informational booth at the Common Ground Fair in Unity, Maine. While  we have always met a largely positive response from fairgoers, it was  even more noticeable this year, as was their frustration with the  state of Maine’s continued opposition to a retrial. Much of the new interest was probably a result of Trevor Maxwell’s series of articles about Dennis’s case that appeared in the Maine Sunday Telegram and  other papers in July. In fact, of those people informally polled who already knew about the case, the belief that Dennis deserved a retrial carried by nearly 100 per cent.

Also, many people — especially young people either side of age 20 — who were not previously aware of the case, were eager to learn more, to find out “Who is Dennis Dechaine?” They took the little orange cards we hand out with the website address on it, and promised to look at the interview with Dennis that is posted on YouTube. And as always, old friends of Dennis stopped by and asked to be remembered to him, while invariably damning Maine’s criminal justice system in general, and the responsible public servants in particular.

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People with questions about Dennis’s suicide

Aug 22, 2010

People with questions about Dennis’s suicide attempt might be interested in the following excerpt from an article about Karin Huffer, author of a book about what she calls “Legal Abuse Syndrome.”  Anyone who has ever been the subject of a legal action will no doubt identify to some degree with her theory, but none of us can remotely imagine the stress that Dennis has withstood during so many years of public vilification, legal and political abuse, and repeated disappointments. When combined with the harsh and unrelenting realities of life imprisoned in a maximum security prison I think we can all agree that Dennis must be the toughest and most resilient person we have ever known.

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Dear Fellow Mainers,

Aug 9, 2010

You are probably wondering what happened to the hearing on Dennis Dechaine’s petition for a new trial under the revised DNA statute that was scheduled to be held before September 1. Well, just as with several other proposed hearing dates going back to last January, it had to be postponed because Dennis’s defense team and the attorney general’s office had failed to reach agreement in their negotiations. At long last, however, agreement has now been reached regarding the testing of certain items of evidence (among those surviving items which the state did not incinerate, of course) for possible DNA.

Early December is now the most likely time the hearing will be held. Dennis’s defense team will then ask Judge Bradford to grant Dennis a new trial in which the jury would be allowed to hear all of the evidence which supports Dennis’s claim of innocence. The state presumably will oppose this request.

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Dear Supporters

Jul 9, 2010

Thanks to all the folks who were prepared to show up at the  Cumberland County Courthouse last Fall for the hearing which, in the end, did not take place. At the last minute the state conceded to our defense team’s position regarding Touch DNA testing of certain articles of evidence (items which the AG’s office did not incinerate) making a hearing before Judge Bradford unnecessary. Afterwards, however, negotiations continued to drag — we had to cancel several tries at getting out a newsletter due to changing positions and dates. We now expect that the testing will take place before too much longer. The date for the hearing regarding test results has been rescheduled several times — the last announced date was September 1 or before, but we would not bet the farm on it!

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Dear Supporters

Jul 9, 2009

Another 4th of July has come and gone and again, Dennis still sits behind bars.

Over the past several months Dennis’s legal team has been negotiating with the state regarding which of the surviving articles of physical evidence which the state has not destroyed should be tested by the Touch DNA process. These negotiations are not yet completed. Regarding the state’s objections to the testing of certain items, Dennis commented,

” If the state is so sure that I am guilty you would think that they would be the ones pushing to test everything.”

Well said, Dennis!

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Dear Supporters

Jan 7, 2009

Another year has passed with Dennis still in prison. Let us hope and pray that 2009 will bring justice for Dennis.

As you can see this newsletter was put together to be sent out in October.  It was then held back because of the election, and since then I have been swamped by the holiday rush at work and by the sickness of some family members. I apologize for the delay.

There has not been very much to report about Dennis’s case since Steve Peterson filed the motion for a new trial on August 30. We expect that things will now be happening, and we will keep you informed. In the meantime our investigators have been busy and we will soon have new bills to pay. Remember that 100 percent of your contributions go directly to seeking justice for Dennis.

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Dear Supporters

Oct 8, 2008

Another year has passed with Dennis still in prison. Let us hope and pray that 2009 will bring justice for Dennis.

As you can see this newsletter was put together to be sent out in October. It was then held back because of the election, and since then I have been swamped by the holiday rush at work and by the sickness of some family
members. I apologize for the delay.

There has not been very much to report about Dennis’s case since Steve Peterson filed the motion for a new trial on August 30. We expect that things will now be happening, and we will keep you informed. In the meantime our investigators have been busy and we will soon have new bills to pay. Remember that 100 percent of your contributions go directly to seeking justice for Dennis.

Read the Book

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Human Sacrifice: On the Altar of Injustice
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State Secrets

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What the jury didn’t know
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