Dennis Maher spent 19 years in Massachusetts prisons for a crime he didn’t commit before DNA testing obtained by the Innocence Project proved his innocence and led to his release. His initial requests for DNA testing were denied, and he would eventually wait for a judge to retire before a prosecutor agreed to allow testing.
Massachusetts is one of three states without a law allowing post-conviction DNA access for prisoners, and if the prosecutor hadn’t agreed to DNA tests, Maher may still be behind bars today. A recent report from a Boston Bar Association task force comprised of police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and former judges called for Massachusetts to become the 48th state with a DNA access law.
In an op-ed in today’s Patriot-Ledger, Maher calls on lawmakers to act now to ensure that more innocent people don’t languish behind bars in the state because they can’t get access to tests that could prove their innocence. He writes:
My case shows why this matters, and the Boston Bar Association shows why it has such broad support. All that’s left now is for the state Legislature and the governor to act on it.