News Worms
News Worms

Brendan Dassey wins in federal appeals court

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit panel upheld a ruling that overturned his conviction a year ago in the case made famous by Netflix's Making a Murderer.

The 27-year-old - who featured in the popular Netflix show - was 16 and mentally impaired when he told police under interrogation that he helped his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery's property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee.

Avery, 54, is serving a life sentence at a Wisconsin prison.

"If a state court can evade all federal review by merely parroting the correct Supreme Court law", Judge Ilana Rovner wrote of the state's ruling that Dassey's confession in the case of Halbach's murder was not coerced, "then the writ of habeas corpus is meaningless".

Last summer, we reported that the conviction ruling of Brendan Dassey was to be overturned, but in the months that followed, appeal after appeal arrived which saw Dassey remain in jail for a further ten months.

The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that move kept Dassey behind bars awaiting the outcome.

The state said it plans to appeal Thursday's ruling to the entire panel of judges on the US 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. It also has 90 days to re-try Dassey. After several sessions, Dassey eventually confessed to being an accomplice to Halbach's rape and murder, and he was convicted for first-degree homicide, rape and mutilation of a corpse.

The federal appeals court's majority opinion states that Dassey's intellectual limitations and suggestibility must be taken into account, and the investigators gave him false promises of leniency. She went to the auto salvage yard of the lead subject of "Making a Murderer", Steven Avery, to photograph some vehicles and was never heard from again.

Lawyers have vowed to fight to free Dassey, whose case garnered worldwide attention after featuring in the popular Netflix series. The majority of the three-judge panel agreed with Duffin that Dassey's confession was involuntary.

Calumet County Prosecutor Ken Kratz called a news conference shortly after investigators secured the confession, saying that Dassey described in detail Halbach's brutal assault and slaying. Weighed against this irrecoverable loss of time, it is undeniable that "every day Petitioner spends in prison compounds the substantial harm that he has suffered on account of imprisonment based upon an unconstitutional conviction".

According to the Independent, Judge David Hamilton said that the decision "breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors".

And now we continue to wait on the edge of our seat for the second season of Making a Murderer.


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