April 20, 2018

Lawyers seek to free inmate featured in 'Making a Murderer'

25 June 2017, 03:04 | Guillermo Sutton

Lawyers seek to free inmate featured in 'Making a Murderer'

Lawyers seek to free inmate featured in 'Making a Murderer'

Today, ABC News is reporting that the appeals court has indeed chosen to uphold the overturned conviction, meaning Dassey might actually get out of prison now.

June 22, 2017: A three-judge federal appeals panel rules that Dassey's confession was improperly obtained and he should be retried or released from prison. The State has the option to either appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or retry Dassey in the next 90 days.

Dassey, now 27, is serving a life sentence for the death of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach, who disappeared on Halloween in 2005 after she went to take photos for an auto magazine at a salvage yard owned by Dassey's uncle, Steven Avery, in Manitowoc County, Wis. Avery was tried separately and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

In a statement, Dassey's lawyers said "In rejecting the State's assertion that Brendan confessed voluntarily, the court acknowledged what many parents already recognize: Brendan's youthfulness and intellectual disability make him particularly vulnerable in the interrogation room". Yesterday the appeal court agreed that he was coerced.

In a 2-1 decision, the appeals panel affirmed that court's ruling, saying "no reasonable court" could have any confidence that Dassey's confession was voluntary. We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today's erroneous decision will be reversed.

It appears to be a classic case of a false confession, and with questionable evidence and many odd coincidences leading to his uncle's conviction in the murder, there's plenty of people who are convinced that neither Dassey nor Avery were actually at fault. Avery previously served 18 years in prison for the wrongful conviction of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being fully exonerated in 2003 through DNA evidence.

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"We are overjoyed for Brendan and his family, and we look forward to working to secure his release from prison as soon as possible". The majority found that as authorities were interrogating him, they fed vital case information to Dassey and actively manipulated his "desire to please" authority figures.

Zellner adds: "Ms Halbach's ex-boyfriend initially gave the police a false name, minimised his relationship with her, lied about crime scene evidence, controlled and led the searchers to Ms Halbach's vehicle, had unrestricted access to the Avery property to plant evidence".

Zellner said the ruling only lends credence to what she's been saying about both post-conviction cases since she became Steven's lawyer previous year.

Two years later, Avery brought a USA $36-million lawsuit against Manitowoc County for the wrongful conviction. The series was filmed over a course of 10 years.

"We're absolutely thrilled", said Laura H. Nirider, a member of Dassey's legal team, in an interview.

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