Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Dennis Brown

First NameDennis
Last NameBrown
Year of Conviction1985
Year of Exoneration2004
State of ConvictionLouisiana
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeBlack
Mentally Ill or Intellectually DisabledLearning difficulties
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Witness testified that defendant was watching television at her house at the time of the crime ● Another witness testified that she saw the defendant at the first witness’s house at the time of the crime ● Defendant’s father testified that defendant came home after leaving the first witness’s house

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

“I wouldn’t do nothing like that. . . . I was raised better than that.” When asked how he felt towards the victim, defendant testified, “I feel sorry for her, what somebody else did, because I didn’t do it.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Confession
  • Eyewitness
  • Forensic Evidence
Were non-public facts alleged?Yes
Type of Forensic Evidence
  • Serology
Types of Flawed Forensics
  • Invalid
Reason why invalid(1) Masking
Brief Quote / Description of Testimony

Victim and Brown were both O secretors. Stains also type O. The analyst testified “I detected the presence of ‘H’ antigens [on the victim’s panties] and that indicates Type-O. And this is the only antigen which I detected, which indicates that it came from either a Type-O secretor or a nonsecretor.” The analyst told the jury that 46.5% of the population could have been the donor. Absent quantification, that statistic regarding a subset of the population was irrelevant and misleading. The relevant statistic was that 100 percent of the population could have been the semen donor.

Identity of eyewitness
  • Cross Racial Identification
  • Victim
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Victim not told attacker might not be in line-up She identified Brown, who was a volunteer filler.

Quotes from testimony #1

Q. What was the status of Mr. Brown at that time [of the line-up]? A. At that time he was a volunteer fill-in. Victim was told to say “if she recognized anybody in the line-up” and was asked at the line-up, “Is there anybody in the line-up that you recognize.”

Unreliable Identification?

No – But at one point testified that she only saw attacker’s face briefly when “his mask dropped off”

Examples of Non-Public or Corroborated Facts and Inconsistencies

● Victim was wearing dark blue jeans or slacks ● Victim was watching television on her couch ● Couch was tan/beige/brown ● Rapist grabbed victim’s left arm ● Facts about style/interior of home BUT ● Stated entered through window when attacker entered through the door Brown had a learning disability.

Quotes from law enforcement testimony

“Q: Lieutenant Cauzabon, you understand this is a very serious case? A: Yes. Q: Did you give any of this information to Dennis Brown? A: No, I did not. That’s the first contact I had with him, sir. Q: To your knowledge, did anyone else give him any of that information? A: Not to my knowledge.” “Q: Sergeant Montgomery, this is a very serious case. You know that. A: Yes, sir. Q: You’re stating under oath you did not know what the victim had on that night, is that correct? You did not know the color of the couch? A: No, sir. Q: You did not know which arm she was grabbed by? A: No sir, I did not. Q: And that the defendant confessed to the rape of Diane Talley, correct? A: Yes. Q: And he gave you specifics as to that rape? A: Yes, sir. Q: And he told you about the house? A: Yes, sir. Q: And he told you what color the couch was? A: Yes, sir. Q: And he told you how he committed the rape? A: Yes, sir. . . .”

Quotes from prosecution arguments

“And the things that were presented to the police by Mr. Brown were the ways that he made entry into the house, the fact that he grabbed the victim by her left arm, a description of the couch, a description of the house itself, a description of how the victim was dressed that night, things that only someone who was there would have known. Not things that are going to be printed there in the newspaper that he could have read about, but only things that a person who would have been there would have known.”

Highest level reachedNR

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