The U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago has ruled that Brendan Dassey, one of two men convicted of the murder profiled in the Netflix docuseries Making A Murderer, should be released from prison after affirming a lower court ruling that his confession was coerced.
Dassey was sentenced to live in prison in 2007 in Wisconsin for his alleged participation in the 2005 death of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbac; his uncle Steven Avery was found guilty of Halbach’s murder. In August, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin overturned Dassey’s conviction, ruling that the court found his confession was involuntary.
The three-judge panel in the U.S Court of Appeals in the Seventh Circuit affirmed Duffin’s ruling today, and said he should be released if not retried within 90 days back in Wisconsin. “The writ of habeas corpus is GRANTED unless the State of Wisconsin elects to retry Dassey within 90 days of issuance of this court’s mandate, or of the Supreme Court’s final mandate,” the judges wrote (read it here).
A Wisconsin Department of Justice spokesman told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that it is “evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court. We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed. We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to re-litigate his guilty verdict and sentence.”
One of Dasssy’s attorneys, Steven A Drizin, tweeted today’s news.