Massachusetts access to DNA testing

Client Dennis Maher wrote an op-ed in the Herald and testified this week on a Post-conviction DNA Access Bill pending before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Maher was exonerated by DNA testing after spending close to 20 years in prison for rapes he did not commit. This firm later investigated on his behalf in a civil action, resulting in a multimillion dollar settlement.

Film "Conviction" getting excellent reviews

The film "Conviction", which details Betty Anne Waters' odyssey to free her wrongfully convicted brother Kenny Waters, has received excellent reviews. Our investigation in a later civil case led to evidence that allowed the The Estate of Kenneth Waters to settle a civil rights case against The Ayer Police Department, Officer Nancy Taylor, and other Ayer police officers, for $3.4 million.

Kenneth Waters was wrongfully arrested and convicted. He served 18 years of a life sentence for the 1980 murder and armed robbery of Katharina Brow. Waters was released from prison after DNA evidence had revealed the blood of an unknown person at the murder scene. His sister, Betty Anne Waters, had put herself through law school in order to represent one client: her brother. She located the biological evidence and worked to have it subjected to DNA testing.

The Waters case alleged that the Ayer Police and Taylor's deliberate bad-faith suppression of favorable evidence led to his conviction – including suppression of evidence that Waters was not the source of the perpetrator’s bloody fingerprint on a piece of a toaster on the dining room floor; as well as suppression of Waters’ time card from work, which cemented his alibi. Taylor was also accused of used coercive and suggestive tactics to manufacture falsely incriminating statements from witnesses Brenda Marsh and Roseanna Perry.

The new problem with DNA testing

Washington Monthly has a great piece on how DNA evidence is turning out to be unreliable in certain situations. As the article notes: "Where the DNA is often incomplete or degraded, and there are few other clues to go on, the reliability of DNA evidence plummets—a fact that jurors weighing such cases are almost never told." A lot of science is covered-- worth the effort to read closely.

Change Blindness - Why Witnesses Get it Wrong

Fascinating video regarding people's inability to notice differences in their surroundings. In this experiment, 75% of the people fail to notice that a different person is now in front of them. For those who study wrongful convictions, a growing field of research shows that eyewitness identification is deeply flawed.

Client Settles Civil Rights Case for $3.4 million

Our client, The Estate of Kenneth Waters, settled a civil rights case against The Ayer Police Department, Officer Nancy Taylor, and other Ayer police officers, for $3.4 million.

Kenneth Waters was wrongfully arrested and convicted. He served 18 years of a life sentence for the 1980 murder and armed robbery of Katharina Brow. Waters was released from prison after DNA evidence had revealed the blood of an unknown person at the murder scene. Waters died during an accidental fall shortly after being granted his freedom.

His sister, Betty Anne Waters, had put herself through law school in order to represent one client: her brother. She located the biological evidence and worked to have it subjected to DNA testing.

Waters complaint alleged that the Ayer Police and Taylor's deliberate bad-faith suppression of favorable evidence led to his conviction – including suppression of evidence that Waters was not the source of the perpetrator’s bloody fingerprint on a piece of a toaster on the dining room floor; as well as suppression of Waters’ time card from work, which cemented his alibi. Taylor was also accused of used coercive and suggestive tactics to manufacture falsely incriminating statements from witnesses Brenda Marsh and Roseanna Perry.

The civil rights case filed by Dennis Maher against many of the same defendants for similar actions during this era is pending.