November 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: Bayside project bad for Portland

(Continued from page 1)

A reader argues that the proposed midtown project in Bayside has too many downsides to be a benefit for the city.

Artist’s rendering

Jeanine S. Chesley

CEO, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland Portland

Dechaine could be impetus for Hamlet’s soliloquy

Among the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Hamlet lists in his “To be or not to be” speech are “the law’s delay” and “the insolence of office.”

As his motion for a retrial enters its sixth year, Dennis Dechaine certainly knows about the former. The latter is amply demonstrated by the diametrically opposite interpretations by two superior court justices of Maine’s post-conviction DNA statute – which requires evaluating DNA test results with all the other evidence in the case.

Justice Carl Bradford, the trial judge still to rule on Dechaine’s re-trial motion, interprets “all the other evidence in the case” to mean only evidence directly related to DNA, e.g., test results and methodologies. To date, Bradford has not admitted evidence relating to time-of-death, which supports Dechaine’s innocence, or an alternative suspect. DNA should not be the only allowable kind of evidence of an alternative suspect.

Judge Thomas Warren, in a March 14, 2012 ruling denying a similar re-trial motion, argues the exact opposite: that it is “necessary” to evaluate the DNA evidence “in light of the entire body of evidence,” which includes bloodstains, a sheet used to wrap the victim’s body, its burial location, the murder weapon, et al.

The courts can’t have it both ways. Neither can the attorney general’s office, which appears eager to use “any and all evidence” to support a conviction, but resists using it to establish a truth that might lead to exoneration.

Given the chance in 2011 to clarify their intent regarding these opposing interpretations of their own law, the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee ruled unanimously against doing so.

So Dechaine is still waiting – in the 26th year of “the law’s delay.”

Bernie Huebner

Waterville

Push for welfare reform ignores need for fair pay

In all the talk about “welfare reform” and work requirements, notably absent is any discussion of employer responsibility both to their employees and those looking for work.

Is the pay a living wage? What are the benefits, cost of working, including transportation and child care?

Why put all the responsibility on the recipient of “welfare?”

Critics obviously lack facts and compassion. Many employers lack imagination, are unwilling to train a worker and are timid.

The employer has all the power, not the applicant.

Virginia Arbuckle Spencer

Sanford

 

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