April 21, 2018

Attorney says Steven Avery 'optimistic' following Dassey ruling

25 June 2017, 03:08 | Latoya Patrick

Making A Murderer inmate Brendan Dassey coerced into confession, appeal judges rule

A timeline of events in the Brendan Dassey case

The three-judge panel said Dassey was coerced into confessing and should be released from prison. In November of a year ago, a Milwaukee judge finally recognized that and made a decision to overturn Dassey's conviction, granting him supervised release from prison while the state decided it it wanted to pursue a retrial.

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that it agreed with the ruling last August by William E. Duffin, a federal judge for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The writ of habeas corpus is granted unless the State of Wisconsin elects to retry Dassey within 90 days of issuance of this court's final mandate, or the Supreme Court's final mandate. As seen in the documentary, Dassey was convicted in 2007 of helping his uncle murder Teresa Halbach, but his confession was very clearly coerced.

"In sum, the investigators promised Dassey freedom and alliance if he told the truth and all signs suggest that Dassey took that promise literally". Kathleen Zellner tells Action 2 News that Avery is optimistic about his own case.

The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Ken Kratz, the prosecutor, wrote in his book Avery that Dassey was "a shuffling, mumbling young man with bad skin and broken-bowl haircut" who could have saved Halbach's life but instead involved himself in her rape and murder and Avery is "by any measure of the evidence, stone guilty".

In a joint statement, lawyers said they were "overjoyed", adding: "We look forward to working to secure his release from prison as soon as possible".

Avery and Dassey contend they were framed by police angry with Avery for suing Manitowoc County over his wrongful conviction for sexual assault.

Making a Murderer investigated the killing of Ms Halbach, whose charred remains were found at Avery's auto salvage yard a week after she went there to photograph a minivan for sale, and the subsequent court cases.

He filed a suit against the county two years before he was arrested as a suspect in the Halbach murder.

"Mr. Dassey, now twenty-seven years old, has been held in custody since March 31, 2006 - since he was sixteen years old - for a conviction, based nearly entirely on an involuntary confession, that has been overturned", reads the motion.

A GoFundMe campaign launched by Dassey's mother has raised almost more than $16,000 to help him readjust to life outside of prison. Authorities involved in the case have called the 10-hour series biased, while the filmmakers have stood by their work.

If he were to be released, the U.S. Probation Office would supervise Dassey under Duffin's order.

But "it became clear that "honesty" meant those things that the investigators wanted Dassey to say", the ruling states.

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