Published: Sun, December 10, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Federal appeals court narrowly rules that 'Making a Murderer' defendant's confession stands

Federal appeals court narrowly rules that 'Making a Murderer' defendant's confession stands

Brendan Dassey was sentenced to life in prison after allegedly telling detectives that he helped his uncle Steven Avery help rape and kill Theresa Haibach.

Dassey has remained in prison while the state appeals.

"No reasonable state court, knowing what we now know about coercive interrogation techniques and viewing Dassey's interrogation in light of his age, intellectual deficits, and manipulability, could possibly have concluded that Dassey's confession was voluntarily given", she wrote.

The confession was one of the focal points analyzed in the Netflix Documentary "Making a Murderer", which followed the details of both Dassey's and Avery's cases.

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However, the state then appealed, asking the full panel of the appeals court to reconsider the case, claiming the earlier decisions had "rewritten the rules for juvenile interrogations".

The new evidence comes from Brendan Dassey's brother, Bryan, who told the Wisconsin Department of Justice in November 2005 that a third Dassey brother, Bobby, had told him he saw Halbach leave the property alive on October 31. "I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice".

But Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner strongly disagreed.

In her dissent, Chief Judge Diane P. Wood wrote: "Without this involuntary and highly unreliable confession, the case against Dassey was nearly nonexistent".

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His sister, on the other hand, was stillborn. "We wish them the strength to cope with their loss", the statement said. The family has refused to take the child's body, demanding arrest of the erring doctors in the case.


Zellner, in various court documents, has also implicated Bobby Dassey as the real culprit of Halbach's murder. "Indeed, when such tactics are applied to vulnerable populations, the risk of false confession grows intolerably". Avery did a previous stint in prison after he was wrongly convicted of rape.

Over a year ago, a federal judge overturned Brendan Dassey's murder conviction, setting the table for the subject of the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer to be released from prison after almost a decade.

Brendan Dassey is pictured in this undated booking photo. The judge called for Dassey to be released; however, the state of Wisconsin was granted a full review by the U.S. Seventh Circuit of Appeals-resulting in Friday's decision.

Steven Avery attorney has filed a new motion for appeal.

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