Published: Wed, June 28, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Making a Murderer subject's confession was coerced, federal court says

Making a Murderer subject's confession was coerced, federal court says

A federal appeals court has affirmed a judge's ruling that overturned the murder conviction of Brendan Dassey.

Wisconsin's attorney general plans to ask the full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court to review Thursday's 2-1 split decision from a three-judge appeals panel. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery's property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee. They now have 90 days from the court's order to retry him, and state attorneys could also appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"By the time of the trial, Dassey had recanted his confession, and the State had failed to find any evidence linking him to the crime, but he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison nonetheless".

"While these tactics might not have overwhelmed a seasoned criminal or a 30-year-old with a law degree, they clearly overwhelmed a 16-year-old, socially avoidant, intellectually limited [youth] who had never been interrogated by the police before", he said.

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Dassey's attorneys are evaluating their next steps to secure his release. Weighed against this irrecoverable loss of time, it is undeniable that "every day Petitioner spends in prison compounds the substantial harm that he has suffered on account of imprisonment based upon an unconstitutional conviction".

The state has argued that "Dassey's confession was not coerced because the investigators who questioned him never made him any explicit promises", as the Journal Sentinel reported. That court said Dassey, now 27, should be freed, but put a hold on his release pending the appeal. They also could elect to re-try Dassey.

The ruling backed up the decision made by Federal Magistrate William Duffin last summer, which stated that false promises were made in the interrogation process, and that these were a violation of Dassey's constitutional rights. The 2015 Netflix documentary series raised questions about the conviction, leading some to believe that Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who was also charged with the murder and is serving a life sentence, are innocent.

Officials with the Wisconsin DOJ are promising a legal battle, saying they hope the entire Seventh Circuit Court can review the case or the Supreme Court of the United States. In another version, Dassey told detectives that he heard screaming from his uncle's house as he brought him his mail. Still, the state may disagree for some stupid reason, so now Dassey just has to wait and see what happens.

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