Support the news

New England Innocence Project Fights For Post-Conviction DNA Access26:30
Download

Play
Massachusetts is just one of two states that does not grant prisoners automatic access to DNA testing. (Courtesy: dnak/Flickr)
Massachusetts is just one of two states that does not grant prisoners automatic access to DNA testing. (Courtesy: dnak/Flickr)

Imagine going to prison for almost 20 years for a crime you didn't commit. That's what happened to Dennis Maher of Tewkesbury, who was found guilty of rape in the early 1980s. With the help of the New England Innocence Project, he was eventually able to use DNA to prove his innocence, and he was set free in 2003.

It took nine years from when Maher started trying to use DNA to clear himself, to the time he left jail. Maher now says he believes strongly that the processes could have been expedited greatly if Massachusetts had a law that exists in 48 other states that grants prisoners access to test DNA evidence. Now there's a bill on Beacon Hill to put that law in place.

Guests:

  • Dennis Maher
  • Michael Blanding, freelance journalist and senior fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.
  • Gretchen Bennett, executive director, New England Innocence Project
  • Michael O'Keefe, Cape and Islands district attorney

More:

This program aired on November 23, 2011.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news