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Federal Judge Throws Out Brendan Dassey’s Conviction


Screen Shot 2016-08-12 at 3.04.18 PMA federal judge has thrown out Brendan Dassey‘s conviction, and ordered that Dassey be released from prison, unless within 90 days of the date of his decision, the state of Wisconsin initiates proceedings to re-try him. Dassey’s conviction was put into the spotlight after the Netflix hit documentary, Making a Murderer.

In 2007, Dassey was convicted of murdering freelance photographer Teresa Halbach. His videotaped confession played a pivotal role in his conviction even though Dassey later recanted. However, in a decision released late Friday afternoon, federal Judge William Duffin found the confession “involuntary” under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Here is the critical section from federal Judge Duffin’s decision explaining why he threw the conviction out:

…the state courts unreasonably found that the investigators never made Dassey any promises during the March 1, 2006 interrogation. The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on October 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about. These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments….

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Brendan Dassey’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is GRANTED. The respondent shall release Dassey from custody unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceedings to retry him. See Jensen v. Schwochert, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177420, 55 (E.D. Wis. Dec. 18, 2013). The Clerk shall enter judgment accordingly. is going through the decision and will post more information as we get it.

 Here is the order:

Brendan Dassey Order 8/12/2016

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Rachel Stockman is President of Law&Crime which includes Law&Crime Productions, Law&Crime Network and Under her watch, the company has grown from just a handful of people to a robust production company and network producing dozens of true crime shows a year in partnership with major networks. She also currently serves as Executive Producer of Court Cam, a hit show on A&E, and I Survived a Crime, a new crime show premiering on A&E this fall. She also oversees production of a new daily syndicated show Law&Crime Daily, which is produced in conjunction with Litton Entertainment. In addition to these shows, her network and production company produce programs for Facebook Watch, Cineflix and others. She has spent years covering courts and legal issues, and was named Atlanta Press Club's 'Rising Star' in 2014. Rachel graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Yale Law School.