Former attorney for Brendan Dassey says he made mistakes

Local News

An attorney that represented Brendan Dassey, one of the two suspects in the murder of Teresa Halbach, admits he made mistakes.  But Len Kachinsky told our Kris Schuller unlike what viewers may see in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” –  those errors had little impact on the final verdict. 

After the release of “Making a Murderer” Attorney Len Kachinsky immediately felt the emotion the docu-series has generated in viewers worldwide.

“I was deluged by phone calls all hours of the day and night,” Kachinsky said.

From people upset by decisions he made while representing then 16-year-old Brenden Dassey, accused of murdering Teresa Halbach – along with his uncle, Steven Avery.

“Most were the nature of – you’re responsible for this man being in prison, you are a despicable human being, things of that nature,” said Kachinsky.

Kachinsky says he was brought on to represent Dassey after his arrest by police, following a confession he gave admitting involvement in the crime.  It is a confession that a federal judge last year ruled was improperly obtained by police, overturning Dassey’s conviction.  Now the circumstances of that confession are being weighed by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago which is being asked if that previous courts ruling should stand.

“I was convinced after seeing the video, based on Dassey’s demeanor, it was pretty devastating,” Kachinsky said.

Because of that confession this public defender filed a motion to suppress, but a judge ruled it admissible. Soon after Kachinsky says he approached Dassey about cooperating with police.

“I think that working with the state to try and convict Avery was a viable strategy,” he said.  

But Kachinsky says the filmmakers portrayed him as incompetent.  Especially after video surfaced of his private investigator Michael O’Kelly grilling Dassey in jail  for more information that could help police.

“I was very disappointed in a lot of what O’Kelly did,” Kachinsky said.  

The very next day police questioned  Dassey yet again.  In both interviews Kachinsky wasn’t present to look out for Dassey’s legal rights.

“That was a mistake,” Kachinsky said. “There was some concern that if we didn’t grab the momentum Dassey would talk to his relatives and wouldn’t be interested in fingering Avery anymore.” 

Six months after appointed Dassey’s attorney – Kachinsky was removed  from the case.  A court saying that to allow Dassey to be interviewed by law enforcement without council present was indefensible.  Kachinsky says he voluntarily withdrew. 

“You may have disagreed with my strategy in the case, eventually Dassey did too when I was discharged as his attorney, but it frankly had no affect on the verdict,” Kachinsky said.

Len Kachinsky is semi-retired and recovering from a recent bone marrow transplant. He still practices some law and is a part-time judge for the Village of Fox Crossing.  

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