Brendan Dassey’s Prison Release Blocked by Wisconsin DOJ

Brendan Dassey’s mugshot. (Wisconsin Department of Corrections)

The Department of Justice in Wisconsin waited until the last minute to block Brendan Dassey’s release from prison Monday, filing a motion that requests the appeals court be granted additional time for its judges to review the full case.

The state had until 6 p.m. EDT on Monday to file a motion to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to block his immediate release, and it did so about 30 minutes before the deadline.

That comes after federal judges in Chicago ruled 2-1 on June 22 to uphold an August 2016 decision to vacate his conviction for the role he played in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. In his ruling, U.S. Magistrate William Duffin of Milwaukee found that Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated when investigators coerced him into a confession and made false promises during interrogations.

On Friday, one day after Duffin’s ruling, Dassey’s attorneys filed a motion to ask for his immediate release from prison, meaning the state of Wisconsin had to file a motion of their own to stop his release. The state’s motion asks for additional time so that all judges on the court have a “full opportunity to rule” on the most recent motion in the case..

This Court should deny the motion to lift the stay. If, however, this Court chooses to dissolve the stay, the State respectfully requests that any such order not take effect until the en banc court has the full opportunity to rule on a motion by the State to reinstate the stay pending resolution of this appeal.

Read the state’s full motion in the document below:


Dassey’s attorneys fired back at the Wisconsin DOJ’s motion one day later, filing a response that called the effort to keep him in prison an “extraordinary step” at trying to stop the release of “an unconstitutionally incarcerated man, despite two written opinions (overturning his conviction) while the State prepares, files, and litigates a petition for rehearing en banc (which) may require many months to resolve.”

Read Dassey’s attorneys full response in the document below:


Dassey was featured in the hit Netflix series Making a Murderer. The docuseries told the story of the case in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were sentenced to life in prison for their roles in Halbach’s murder. Halbach was a freelance photographer and came to Avery’s property, a junkyard, to take photos of a car he was trying to sell.

Dassey was found guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and first-degree sexual assault, and his first chance at early release wasn’t until 2048.

But a federal judge in August 2016 overturned Dassey’s convictions in the case, saying that he must be released from prison within 90 days unless the state wanted to schedule a new trial. Prosecutors appealed the overturned conviction in September 2016, and a federal appeals court blocked Dassey’s release in November 2016 after an emergency motion was filed in the case.