Jun 9, 2011
1988 murder investigation wouldn’t be bungled today
If a little girl was tortured and murdered in Maine today, would the state’s response be very different from that which followed the 1988 murder of Sarah Cherry?
A police photo of Dennis Dechaine’s pickup truck taken on July 6, 1988, the day Sarah Cherry disappeared. The truck was found near where Cherry’s body was discovered. Press Herald file. Select images available for purchase in the Maine Today Photo Store
Would an incomplete autopsy be performed and time-of-death evidence ignored? Would fingerprints and a blood sample be lost? Would the state block DNA testing?Would untested biological evidence be incinerated without the court or the defense being notified? Would exculpatory evidence regarding a targeted suspect be ignored, while other suspects were given a pass?Would the state block the findings of its own psychologist from being heard by the jury? Would police give testimony which contradicted their notes, and would those notes then be withheld?Would the state’s case rest on circumstantial evidence and false testimony? Would the case files be sealed? And would the defendant be convicted by irresponsible media reporting even before the jury did?Were such a case to be handled so outrageously today, would influential Mainers of good conscience loudly protest? Or would they remain as silent as they are now as the state once again opposes a retrial for Dennis Dechaine, the victim of the procedural abuses listed above — and more?
LD 373 was signed by the Governor and enacted into law.
June 6 2011
Here is the document, follow the link and click on “Bill Text and other Docs.”