In a logical world, after two forensic pathologists staked their reputations on their findings that time-of-death evidence eliminated Dennis Dechaine as the killer of Sarah Cherry, the Attorney General’s office would have consulted with the scientists in a search for the truth.

Instead, the AG’s office stuck with its claim of infallibility, disregarding the cause of justice and the future consequences of having continued what appears to have become a cover-up.

By so doing, the AG’s office confirmed the observations of famed Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Dr. Daniel Kahneman: Decision-making commonly is based on biased, invalid, short-term considerations. Good decision-making requires open-minded effort.

According to Kahneman, decision-making by groups where everybody is “susceptible to similar biases” is inferior to that of individuals. And organizations do not invest in “trying to figure out what they have done wrong” because “they don’t want to know.”

Kahneman’s focus was on financial decision-making — explaining, in effect, why a dart board can outperform Wall Street experts — but his conclusions are widely applicable.

Given the national flood of wrongful convictions, Kahneman’s writings should be required reading for all prosecutors.

That people believe what they want to believe, despite clear evidence to the contrary, has been proven, ad nauseum, in the Dechaine case, by 23 years of tragically misguided official decision-making. And once again, the AG’s office has decided to double-down its bet, just like an investor wedded to a plummeting stock.

William Bunting


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