Conviction stands for Brendan Dassey in 'Making a Murderer' case

10 December, 2017, 05:03 | Author: Julian Swanson
  • Appeals Court Lets Dassey Conviction Stand

Dassey's uncle, Avery, is now appealing his own life sentence for raping, killing and mutilating the body of Teresa Halbach, an Auto Trader photographer.

Dassey's life sentence will remain in effect.

While a majority of Season 1 of Making A Murderer focuses on the trial of Steven Avery, his nephew Brendan Dassey served as a big part of Avery's defense, due to the way in which his confession was obtained and the inconsistencies his story had with actual evidence.

In an analysis of more than 2,000 cases going back to 1989, false confessions were found to be one of the causes of wrongful convictions, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. "Dassey was subjected to myriad psychologically coercive techniques but the state court did not review his interrogation with the special care required by Supreme Court precedent".

"The state courts' finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable", their 39-page ruling said.

"What occurred here was the interrogation of an intellectually impaired juvenile", Judge Ilana Rovner wrote.

Dassey's lawyers had argued that their client, then 16, had a learning disability, and that police had coerced him into admitting his involvement in the crime. "His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison".

The three dissenting judges wrote that the decision was "a profound miscarriage of justice". "Unfortunately, this time-worn lesson was ignored today by four judges in the case of Brendan Dassey".

A federal judge overturned Dassey's conviction a year ago, ruling that investigators coerced the confession.

Chief Judge Diane P. Wood said: "Without this involuntary and highly unreliable confession, the case against Dassey was nearly nonexistent". The judge called for Dassey to be released; however, the state of Wisconsin was granted a full review by the U.S. Seventh Circuit of Appeals-resulting in Friday's decision.

In October, Avery's appeal attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a motion to reconsider his original conviction, citing new evidence that she believes will exonerate Avery.

Court papers also raised the issue of Dassey's IQ, described as being in the "low to borderline" range.

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