Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Judge doesn’t seem to want to learn the truth

Nov 28, 2010


It comes as no surprise that Judge Carl Bradford has declined the opportunity to consider the merits of new evidence arguably bearing on the significance of the DNA found under Sarah Cherry’s thumbnail, male DNA that was not Dennis Dechaine’s.

At the upcoming DNA hearing — hopefully it will be held soon — Bradford will, in essence, be deciding whether he erred 21 years ago when he denied Dechaine’s request for DNA testing.

Evidently, Bradford would prefer that this decision, which could end Dechaine’s last hope for a retrial, not be complicated by the awkward findings of two world-renowned forensic pathologists that Dechaine could not be the killer.

Although Bradford’s narrowly construed ruling is backed by precedent, in the bigger picture it would appear that the search for the truth in this tragic case is not Bradford’s foremost concern.

William Bunting

So, now Judge Carl Bradford has ruled that even though forensic evidence could well prove that Dennis Dechaine was already talking to police when Sarah Cherry was murdered, he will not consider it in his upcoming decision whether grant a retrial.
Clearly, the letter of the law (or, more accurately, Bradford’s interpretation of it) is trumping the spirit of the law.
Also trumping the spirit of the law is placing the power to determine Dechaine’s fate in the hands of the same judge whose work on the original trial is questionable.
I believe justice will not be served until all the evidence in the Dechaine case is finally heard, and I call on the governor or the Legislature to finally order a reinvestigation and retrial.

Robert MacLaughlin

What does the state have against a fair trial for Dennis Dechaine? I can find very few people who think the first trial was fair. We know there was evidence that was never heard, and we know that some of what was heard was incorrect.     So what’s up?
I hear that the Attorney General’s Office said, “We don’t make mistakes like that here,” but that can’t be true. As our governor-elect says, we all make mistakes. I agree. The Innocence Project agrees, as do the more than 200 convicted people they have exonerated.
Who is so afraid of the possibility of being wrong that we can’t look again at a case that may have the wrong man in prison for two decades while the real perpetrator is still free?

Steve Sandau

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