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Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction was just overturned

Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction was just overturned

One of the subjects of Making a Murderer just had his conviction overturned: Brendan Dassey, Steven Avery’s nephew, will be released from prison in 90 days if Wisconsin does not re-file charges against him. A federal magistrate called his treatment “indefensible.”

Update: U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin wrote this in his 91-page decision, according to the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel’s story:

“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. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”

Brendan’s videotaped “confession,” and that’s a word that needs scare quotes, was one of the most compelling and horrifying parts of the Netflix documentary series, which is now in production on a second season. The then-17-year-old was interrogated without legal counsel or a parent present, and was basically coerced into confessing to participating in Teresa Halbach’s murder.

He’s serving life in prison after being convicted of first degree murder, second-degree sexual assault, and multilation of a corpse.

This afternoon, a federal judge in Milwaukee cited the false promises made to him, plus his age and intellectual capacity. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter John Diedrich just tweeted details:

Update: U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin wrote this in his 91-page decision, according to the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel’s story:

“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. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means. Learn more about Andy.

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