A federal magistrate judge has overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, the nephew of Steven Avery who was prominently featured in Netflix’ Making a Murderer series.
At the time of his conviction, Dassey was a juvenile teenager; his attorneys argued that he was cognitively disabled and that confessions he gave in the case were unreliable and shaped by investigators.
The judge found that Dassey’s cognitive state and promises from investigators made the confessions involuntary.
The U.S. Magistrate judge, William Duffin, ordered that Dassey must be released in 90 days unless prosecutors appeal his decision.
Read the full court decision here:
Dassey was convicted, along with his uncle, Steven Avery, of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach, who disappeared after going to the Avery family junkyard to take photos in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
The federal judge, in overturning the Dassey conviction, called Dassey’s lawyer, Len Kachinsky’s “misconduct” in defending Dassey “indefensible,” said WISN.
WISN said the U.S. Magistrate Judge also found that Dassey’s confession was “involuntary” and prompted by “false promises” by interrogators, and the judge cited “Dassey’s age and intellectual deficits” in the decision.
Watch one of the interrogations here:
Calumet County Sheriff’s Investigator Mark Wiegert and Wisconsin Department of Justice Special Agent Tom Fassbender interrogated Dassey, who was a juvenile, without his parent or defense attorney present, the court decision says.