Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Dechaine’s jury didn’t have all the evidence

Jul 18, 2011

Kennebec Journal

Generally, I don’t follow many criminal cases in the news.

I believe that a jury of peers will examine the evidence presented and come up with a verdict as designed by our Constitution and penal code. In the Casey Anthony trial, however, I did develop an interest because of “grocery line chatter. ”

It seems that many people already had the woman declared guilty long before the trial was over. Of course, the jury was required to listen carefully to all of the evidence and non-evidence. Though I was not in the courtroom, I gathered from news reports that there never really was any actual evidence as to the how, where, who and when the crime was committed. Those are critical factors necessary to assign guilt, particularly in capital cases.

On the NBC News of July 6, I even heard the prosecutor say that to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt was a high standard, and that none of the evidence he presented reached that standard with the jury.

And why should our courts not be held to a high standard? Is this nation based on the rule of law? Without high standards, do we become a ship of fools?

High praise to jurors who did their job as required by law.

At the local level: If Dennis Dechaine had a jury with the same high standards more than 25 years ago, he might not be in jail today.

In defense of Dechaine’s jurors, however, if they had received all the evidence and truth from the prosecution and law enforcement, they also might have come to a “not guilty” verdict.

Peter P. Sirois


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