Appeals court affirms ruling overturning Brendan Dassey conviction

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Brendan Dassey could be out of prison soon. 

On Thursday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a ruling overturning Dassey’s conviction. This affirmed Judge William Duffin’s ruling in a 2-1 vote. 

Dassey was originally imprisoned after he was convicted for his part in the killing of Teresa Halbach’s 2005 murder alongside his uncle Steven Avery.  The case gained world-wide notoriety after it was featured in the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”

The appeal from the Seventh Circuit Court says that Dassey, only 16 at the time, was interrogated without a parent or lawyer to look out for his rights. He never had any contacts with law enforcement prior to his interviews in the case and was passive, docile and withdrawn.

“Sitting across from the young, socially and intellectually challenged Dassey were two seasoned police interrogators. Dassey had no adult advocate, but the investigators sought to fill that role and convince him that they were the adults who were on his side,” it reads. 

It went on to say that he suffered from intellectual deficits and his IQ was below average. 

“Dassey has successfully demonstrated that the state court decision resulted in a decision that was ‘contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States’ and that ‘resulted in a decision that was based on an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the State court proceeding,’” said in the appeal. 

The conclusion of the appeal reads: 

As in most cases on voluntariness of confessions, relevant factors point in conflicting directions. A few factors and passages from Dassey’s confession support the majority’s view that the confession was not voluntary. Many other factors and passages support the state courts’ view that, overall, the confession was voluntary. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals could have been much more thorough in its discussion, but its conclusion was within the bounds of reason. It was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of controlling Supreme Court precedent. We should reverse the district court’s grant of the writ of habeas corpus.

Johnny Koremenos with the Wisconsin Department of Justice released this statement:

We are evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court. We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed. We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to re-litigate his guilty verdict and sentence.


As for Avery’s attorney, she filed a more than a 1,200 page motion, arguing Avery was not the killer of Halbach among other things. 

Avery’s lawyer tweeted this out after news:

Avery’s lawyer also tweeted this on Friday:

The court says the state has 90 days to decide to re-try Dassey, or take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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