Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Retrial - Trial and Error - Dennis Dechaine

Summary of Evidence

By retired federal agent James P. Moore

Jim Moore retired from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as ATF’s agent-in-charge for Maine and New Hampshire. His career included two years with the Federal Organized Crime & Racketeering Strike Force and two years with INTERPOL where he directed international investigations of robbery, rape, murder and terrorism. Moore had developed a high regard for Maine law enforcement, so when charges surfaced that Dennis Dechaine had been wrongfully convicted for the 1988 murder of Sarah Cherry, he decided to see for himself. At that time, Moore regarded Dechaine’s supporters “as a bunch of bird brains out to trash law enforcement.” However, while conducting an independent investigation at his own expense, Moore concluded that Dechaine indeed had been wrongfully convicted. He has since written two books on the case, Human Sacrifice and State Secrets, all proceeds of which are donated to securing a retrial for Dechaine.

What follows is Moore’s summary of the case, including all evidence presented by the State. It is part of a report Moore submitted to Defense Attorney Tom Connolly in December, 1992. The indented portions of the summary, which indicate the state’s evidence, had been sent to Assistant Attorney General Eric Wright, who prosecuted Dechaine. Moore asked Wright to inform him if any significant element of the State’s case had been omitted. As of May, 2012, neither Wright nor anyone else has ever indicated any correction, defect or deficiency in Moore’s summary.

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Was cause of justice served by judge’s ruling?

KJ Online Article: Was cause of justice served by judge’s ruling?

The many recent exonerations of wrongfully convicted persons because of improved scientific forensic tools have exposed flawed judicial systems nationwide.

Too often the prime focus of courts is on a strict adherence to legal procedures that stifle the search for the truth. As a result, a number of state courts now accept overriding pleas of “actual innocence.” Regrettably, Maine Superior Court Justice Carl Bradford, in a 2011 ruling, denied a claim of actual innocence entered during a preliminary hearing on Dennis Dechaine’s 2008 motion for a retrial.
In 2009, famed trial lawyer F. Lee Bailey, after mounting a pro bono investigation of the Dechaine case, concluded that Dechaine was innocent. Forensic pathologist Dr. Walter Hofman and I were consulted concerning the critical issue of time-of-death.

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Former AG Jon Lund’s Letter to the Editor

Below are two letters to the editor written by Jon Lund, Maine’s first full-time Attorney General and former Chair of the Maine Criminal Law Review Commission. His 2008 letter (at bottom) was ignored by the media.  His latest, written since the discovery of additional DNA evidence, appeared in the Kennebec Journal on October 2, 2012.

October 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM

AG should take fresh look at Dechaine case

Letter to the Editor

In his recent non-fiction book,”The Innocent Man,” John Grisham chronicles how many prosecutors in the United States fight tooth and nail to avoid a determination that they have made a mistake and convicted an innocent man.

In Maine, the prosecutors objected to a delay in Dennis Dechaine’s trial in order to have DNA testing done. The prosecutors prevailed and, as a result, the trial went ahead without the results of DNA testing.

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Columnist Reade Brower

(from Village Soup,Camden Herald, Courier-Gazette)

'Making a Murderer' and Dennis Dechaine

By Reade Brower | Feb 04, 2016

"If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons." 

--- James Thurber, writer, cartoonist (1894-1961)

Injustice is subjective; everyone has their own ideas about right and wrong and what is over the edge. In the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” what was appalling to me and many others was a shoulder-shrug to others. It was interesting that a documentary could be viewed as slanted; showing snippets does sway one's opinion and simple omission of facts and the way others are presented can color a story.

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Jim Moore on Sabotaging Justice

MOUNT  MIRAGE

By James P. Moore

[Retired Federal agent: ATF, Organized Crime & Racketeering Strike Force, INTERPOL. Note: As an old cop, I entered this case to prove to the defendant’s supporters that he was guilty and the law had done its job.]

 

EXAMINE THE EVIDENCE, BE A JURY, REACH YOUR VERDICT BASED ON  EVIDENCE, BUT YOU’LL HAVE FACTS JURORS IN THIS CASE NEVER HEARD.

       Between noon and 3:00p.m. on Wednesday, July 6, 1988, twelve-year-old Sarah Cherry was abducted from the Henkel house in Bowdoin, Maine where she was babysitting. On Friday, July 8th, her vandalized body was found in a woods, three miles away.

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Official Misconduct

REPORT OF OFFICIAL MISCONDUCT
Submitted to the State of Maine by retired federal agent James P. Moore

Jim Moore retired from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms as ATF’s agent-in-charge for Maine and New Hampshire. His career included two years with the Federal Organized Crime & Racketeering Strike Force and two years with INTERPOL where he directed international investigations of robbery, rape, murder and terrorism. Moore had developed a high regard for Maine law enforcement, so when charges surfaced that Dennis Dechaine had been wrongfully convicted for the 1988 murder of Sarah Cherry, he decided to see for himself. At that time, Moore regarded Dechaine’s supporters “as a bunch of bird brains out to trash law enforcement.” However, while conducting an independent investigation at his own expense, Moore concluded that Dechaine indeed had been wrongfully convicted. He has since written two books on the case, Human Sacrifice and State Secrets, all proceeds of which are donated to securing a retrial for Dechaine.

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When Does DNA Matter?

An Op-Ed piece by James P. Moore,
author of the book Human Sacrifice: on the altar of injustice

When does DNA Matter?
Answer: “It depends.”
What it depends on is chilling.

Deputy Attorney General Stokes boasted to reporter Donna Perry [KJ, 6/24/09] that Thomas Mitchell’s 2009 conviction for murdering Judith Flagg back in 1985 was based on Mitchell’s DNA in blood under his victim’s fingernails.

Stokes listed more convictions based on DNA evidence.

1997: David Fleming for Linda Garland’s murder in 1990.
1999: Albert Cochran for Janet Baxter’s murder, 1976.
2002: Foster Bates for Tammy Dickson’s murder, 1994.
2007: Michael Hutchinson for Crystal Perry’s murder, 1994.

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EDITORIAL – Courier-Gazette

Dechaine's case highlights need for more reform

Jul 28, 2016

Please see clarifications at the end of this article.

This week we end our series on the case of Dennis Dechaine, who was convicted in 1989 for the murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry. Without solid proof either way, his story forces us to consider the possibility of wrongful conviction.

Since DNA testing began, 342 people have been exonerated in the United States. None of these has been in Maine, possibly because of the restrictions on post-conviction review.

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Dechaine applies for federal review of 1989 murder conviction

By Jordan Bailey | Courier Publications | Jul 20, 2016

http://waldo.villagesoup.com/p/dechaine-applies-for-federal-review-of-1989-murder-conviction/1550625

Part 2 of a separate three-part investigative report on this case is running in papers July 21.

Dennis Dechaine, the Bowdoinham farmer who was convicted in 1989 for the kidnapping, sexual assault and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry and has been held at Maine State Prison ever since, submitted an application to file a second writ of habeas corpus at U.S. First Circuit Court in Boston on July 16, in which he asserts his innocence and presents ten grounds on which his constitutional rights have been violated.

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Read the Book

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Human Sacrifice: On the Altar of Injustice
Soft-cover edition
available at www.amazon.com $15
Kindle edition for download now $4.99

State Secrets

state secrets

What the jury didn’t know
Download now for free
Also now included in Human Sacrifice