A federal judge in Milwaukee has ordered the release from prison of a man convicted of brutally murdering a photographer in 2005. The Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer” featured the case of Brendan Dassey, who confessed to helping his uncle, Steven Avery, kill a photographer named Teresa Halbach and dispose of her body.
Dassey was only 16 years old at the time of the crime and the “docuseries” – along with Dassey’s defense team – maintains that the confession was coerced and that Dassey, who suffers borderline cognitive impairment and has a low IQ, was wrongfully convicted at his 2007 trial.
A “Clearly Involuntary” Confession Likely Sent the Wrong Man to Prison
U.S. District Judge William E. Duffin agreed, and in August overturned Dassey’s conviction, calling the confession “so clearly involuntary in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law,” according to court documents obtained by CNN.
The judge also stressed that even if the interrogation practices had been proper for adults, the investigators should have taken into account the accused person’s age and intellectual capacity before taking advantage of a defendant who lacks the appropriate understanding and context for the situation.
Dassey Ordered to be Released from Prison Pending Appeal
In November, Duffin ordered Dassey to be released from prison on his own recognizance, while the appeal of his conviction winds its way through the court system. As the appeal is pending, Dassey will remain under supervision by the US Probation Office.
The publicity from the “Making a Murderer” docuseries certainly helped expose the disregard for Dassey’s constitutional rights to a large public audience. Most defendants, unfortunately, do not have the luxury of a high-profile series shining the light on possible police and prosecutor misconduct throughout the investigation and trial.
The Dassey case is the perfect example of just how badly innocent defendants can be railroaded when they are not represented by experienced counsel who can look out for their interests from the moment they are first accused and interrogated.
Fortunately, if you are facing a criminal charge or have been unfairly convicted or sentenced, there are trusted and skilled attorneys who can be by your side fighting to allow you to move forward with your life.
Consult an Experienced Trusted Prison Consultant
The Trusted Prison Consultants firm will passionately fight to make sure clients’ best interests are protected at every stage in the legal process. No matter at what stage you begin fighting to clear your name, we are here to help, whether you are dealing with matters related to:
- Wrongful convictions;
- Coerced confessions;
- Juvenile defendants;
- Violations of right to have counsel present;
- Learning and cognitively disabled defendants;
- Mishandling of evidence;
- Prosecutor or misconduct;
- Illegal interrogation practices
- Unreliable witnesses;
- Other matters as they arise.