Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Chester Bauer

First NameChester
Last NameBauer
Year of Conviction1983
Year of Exoneration1997
State of ConvictionMontana
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Mother, father, and wife all testified that defendant was at home at the time of the crime

Did the defendant testify at trial?Yes
Quotes from Exoneree Testimony

● When asked if he was at the scene of the crime, defendant testified, “No, I was not.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
  • Other
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Hair
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid1), (2), (5) Masking; false probability; hair match
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

The analyst provided a 7.5% figure, including invalid division of the population statistic in half for males. The serology testimony was also invalid in its limitation of the population to O secretors, ignoring masking and non-quantification. The victim and Bauer were both O secretors. Thus, absent quantification, the victim’s O substances could have masked any material from the semen donor and 100% of the male population could have been the donor. Regarding hairs, the analyst provided unsupported statistics which were then multiplied as if the hairs represented independent events: “To have them both match, it would be the multiplication of both factors so as an approximately using that 1 out of 100, you come out with a number like 1 chance in 10000.” See Part II.B.1 for a discussion of this case.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses4
Lineup Procedures
  • Lineup
Suggestive Procedures

No. Tape recorded line-up Victim identified him at line-up; another witness was an acquaintance, one did not testify, and the last saw him at a bar on the day of the crime and weeks later and identified him in-court

Unreliable Identification?

No ●Discrepancy in descriptions – hair color

Quotes from testimony #2

Q. In your statement on January 26 you stated that the individual’s hair was medium brown and now you stated “dishwater blond”. What color would it be accurately described as? A. Right now, what I see now? Q. No. A. I would say dishwater blond. Q. Was there any reason you had called it medium brown on that particular day? A. I was pretty upset and pretty confused at the time.

Highest level reachedAppeal
Claims Raised During All Appeals and Postconviction
  • Jury Selection
  • State Law Evidence Claim
  • Suggestive Eyewitness Identification
Harmless Error Rulings
  • HE
  • NP
Citations to judicial opinions

State v. Bauer, 683 P.2d 946 (Mont. 1984)

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