Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Former Attorney General Jon Lund’s Letter to the Editor

Jun 15, 2008

Former Attorney General Jon Lund’s 2008 unpublished letter to the Editor of the Bangor Daily News.

In 1988 the prosecution in the case against Dennis Dechaine in the murder of Sarah Cherry called the evidence “overwhelming.”

In fact what was “overwhleming” (and still is) was the conspicuous lack of evidence:

  • There was no demonstrated connection between Dechaine and the victim.
  • There was no trace of the victim in Dechaine’s truck (including no trace found by scent dogs).
  • No trace of Dechaine was found on the victim.
  • Dechaine had no record whatsoever of crime, violence or any form of sexual perversion.
  • DNA testing requested by Dechaine at the time of the trial was denied.

Additionally,

  • Detectives’ allegations of admissions by Dechaine are contradicted by their own contemporaneous notes.
  • Other important allegations by the lead detective regarding this case have been proven by the state’s own documents to be totally false.
  • Prosecutors suppressed and concealed evidence implicating at least two suspects who were known to have sexually molested little girls.
  • At trial, the prosecutor falsely told jurors that there was no other suspect.

And since then,

  • Authorities resisted requests to examine their file on this case until the Legislature ordered that it be made accessible to the public.
  • The “three distinguished lawyers” the Attorney General chose to make an “independent” review of the case reported no misconduct, but gave no reasons, and refused to disclose their evidence.
  • DNA in the blood under the victim’s nails is that of another man, not Dechaine.

Dechaine’s supporters ask only for a new trial. Prosecutors, fully aware that they could never win a trial where jurors hear all the evidence, have done everything in their power to prevent Dennis Dechaine from ever having a chance for justice. He has been in prison since 1988 and, unless the desperate desire of those prosecutors is overcome, he will remain there until he dies.

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