Convicting the Innocent
DNA Exonerations Database

Dennis Maher

First Name Dennis
Last NameMaher
Year of Conviction1984
Year of Exoneration2003
State of ConvictionMassachusetts
Trial, Bench Trial, or Guilty PleaTrial
Type of CrimeRape
Death SentenceNo
Life / LWOP sentenceLife
Gender of ExonereeMale
Race of exonereeWhite
Type of Innocence Defense
  • Alibi
Description / Quotes from Testimony Concerning Defense

● Two witnesses testified that they were with defendant at a location away from the crime scene until 5:15 pm. Victim claimed she was attacked around 5:10 pm.

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

Q: Was your picture published in the Lowell Sun? A: Yes, it was. Q: When? A: On November 21, 1983. Q: Were you subsequently identified after that picture was taken? A: Yes, I was. Q: Did you have anything at all to do with [the victim]? A: No, I did not. Q: Did you have anything at all to do with [the witness]? A: No, I did not. Q: Did you ever see them before you came to this court this morning? A: Just when I was in the lineups and they came in to pick the person out and I seen [the witness] once before in the District Court courtroom when she walked around the courtroom and tried to identify the person. Q: Did she come close to you? A: She walked right by me. Q: Did she look at you? A: Yes, she did.”

Types of evidence at trial
  • Eyewitness
Identity of eyewitness
  • Intraracial Identificaiton
  • Victim
Multiple eyewitnesses4
Lineup Procedures
  • Composite drawing
  • Lineup
  • Photo array
  • Showup
Suggestive Procedures

Yes ● Suggestive line-up ● Show-up – one victim brought to courtroom to identify him and another shown a single photo ● Victim not told attacker might not be in line-up Brady

Quotes from testimony #1

Victim brought to courthouse to view defendant in the “arresting box. “Q. And for what reason did he say he would meet you? A. To take me to the courtroom to try to make a positive I.D. of the man who assaulted me.” There were three men in the arresting box – and she identified another person, a filler – “I said there was a man in the arresting box who resembled my assailant.” One eyewitness was shown a single photograph of the defendant by the police: “Q. And on that day, were you shown a photograph? A. Yes, I was. Q. Were you able to identify that photograph? A. Yes, I was.”

Unreliable Identification?

Yes ● Discrepancies in description – facial hair, mustache ● Initial nonidentification – one victim picked a filler in the arresting box at a courtroom identification procedure ● Initially uncertain

Quotes from testimony #2

“Q. Did he have a mustache on? A: I am not sure? Q: Did he kiss you that night? A. Yes, I did. Q. And you still don’t know whether or not he had a mustache on? A. No, I do not.” “Q. when you selected that photograph, did you express any degree of certainty as to whether that person depicted your assailant? A. I was 99 percent sure. Q. Did you indicate anything that would make you 100 percent sure? A. Only if I saw him in person.”

Highest level reachedNR
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