Trial and Error

The Outcry for Justice in the Dennis Dechaine Case

Dechaine records access denied

Jun 17, 2008 

A special commission, created by Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe to review the prosecution of Dennis Dechaine, was not a government body and its records can be kept private, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled on Tuesday.

Two of the five justices who reviewed the case, however, disagreed with the decision. That divide could leave the door open for future debate in the court system or in the Legislature.

Back in 2004, Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe created the Beaulieu commission to investigate allegations that prosecutors and police officers altered notes, misled the jury, ignored alternative suspects and destroyed evidence before, during and after Dechaine’s trial in 1989. Dechaine was convicted and is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping and murder of 12-year-old Sarah Cherry in Bowdoinham.

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Staff writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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