In his recent non-fiction book,”The Innocent Man,” John Grisham chronicles how many prosecutors in the United States fight tooth and nail to avoid a determination that they have made a mistake and convicted an innocent man.

In Maine, the prosecutors objected to a delay in Dennis Dechaine’s trial in order to have DNA testing done. The prosecutors prevailed and, as a result, the trial went ahead without the results of DNA testing.

Recently, when tests of the DNA from the victim’s fingernail clipping proved to be from some person other than Dechaine, the Attorney General’s office argued that the nail clipping was contaminated by sloppy practices of the medical examiner’s staff.

Next, the AG’s office objected to having the victim’s clothing scraped for DNA, saying that scrape tests would not bring to light anything new.

We now find that they were wrong about that.

I would urge Attorney General William Schneider to take a fresh look at the case and review whether his office is seeking that justice be done, as is its legal duty, or is simply defending the Dechaine conviction by every means available.

Jon Lund


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