Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Judge ‘technically correct’ in narrowest sense

Nov 5, 2010

Judge Carl Bradford is technically correct in the narrowest legalistic sense: Maine’s statute governing a post-judgment conviction motion does not explicitly provide for Dennis Dechaine to present other than DNA evidence to support his motion for a re-trial.

This is a little like a drowning man whose cry “Throw me a rope!” is ignored as technically impossible by someone on shore surrounded only by life preservers.

Set aside that Bradford, having denied Dechaine’s pre-trial request for DNA testing, is now caught in an obvious conflict of interest and should not even be ruling on Dechaine’s motion for a re-trial.

The state would have the public believe that the pre-eminent purpose of the courts is to establish the truth. Why, then, is Bradford not interested in the recent reports of two world-renowned forensic pathologists, Dr. Cyril Wecht and Dr. Walter Hofman, demonstrating Dechaine was already in police custody when Sarah Cherry was killed?

Why is the judge not concerned that the sworn testimony of two detectives claiming Dechaine confessed to them is contradicted by their own police notes, which were withheld by the state until forced open by a lawsuit and an act of the Legislature?

And why is Bradford not disturbed that the state avowed to the jury that there were no other suspects, when tests now clearly show the presence under the victim’s thumbnails of DNA belonging not to Dechaine, but to some other male?

With or without the courts, the truth will out. In fact, it is already out in the minds of many of Maine’s citizens. The question for Bradford is whether he is only a lawyer, dancing on the head of a legalistic pin, or someone capable of living up to the meaning of the word “judge.”

Bernie Huebner


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