Brendan Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach
Brendan Dassey is escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom Friday, March 3, 2006, in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. photo: AP/Morry Gash, photo: AP/Morry Gash
22 of June 2017 19:00:13
MADISON – The confession of a Wisconsin inmate featured in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer" was improperly obtained and he should be retried or released from prison, a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled Thursday.Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in photographer Teresa Halbach's death on Halloween two years earlier. Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family's Manitowoc County salvage yard. Avery was sentenced to life in a separate trial.A federal magistrate judge ruled in August that investigators coerced Dassey, who was 16 years old at the time and suffered from cognitive problems, into confessing and overturned his conviction. The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a move that kept Dassey, now 27, behind bars pending the outcome.https://youtu.be/HBxj1GqAqAcA three-judge panel from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate's decision to overturn his conviction. Wisconsin can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, ask for a review by the full 7th Circuit or retry Dassey within 90 days.Johnny Koremenos, a spokesman for Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, said the office expects to seek review by the full 7th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court, and hopes "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," Koremenos said.Dassey's lawyers from the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) at Northwestern University said they're elated and will take immediate steps to secure his release.Attorney Laura Nirider said they want to send Dassey home to his mother as soon as possible. She said they did the math and determined that he had been in prison for 4,132 days as of Thursday.The center's director, Steven Drizin, said the ruling provides a model for the kind of thorough analysis that courts should always undertake in assessing whether a confession was voluntary, and highlights the importance for teenagers to have parents or trusted adults in the interrogation room."While these tactics might not have overwhelmed a seasoned criminal or a 30-year-old with a law degree, they clearly overwhelmed a 16-year-old, socially avoidant, intellectually limited (youth) who had never been interrogated by the police before," he said.The appellate panel split, with Judges Ilana Rovner and Ann Williams affirming and David Hamilton in dissent. The majority opinion by Rovner said "no reasonable court" could have any confidence that Dassey's confession was voluntary. It cited "the leading, the fact-feeding, the false promises, the manipulation of Dassey's desire to please" as among many factors that cast it in doubt.Hamilton, in dissent, wrote: "The majority's decision breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors. It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles."
TODD RICHMONDSTEVE KARNOWSKI