The hype from Making A Murderer died down back in February/January, but lawyers have been working behind the scenes fervently since then and their efforts finally paid off on Friday when a federal judge decided to overturn Brendan Dassey’s conviction after ten years in prison.
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Anyone who seen Making A Murderer will probably be in a agreement that Dassey’s confession and trial was a complete and utter joke, but unfortunately it’s not that easy to overturn a conviction in the eyes of the law. Incredibly this was his lawyers’ fifth appeal attempt since he was originally found guilty and it was filed in October 2014 and only just been sorted out now. In this appeal, the two lawyers – Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin – argued that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel, and that his coerced confession was a violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment.
Judge William E. Duffin explains why he finally decided to overturn Dassey’s conviction:
The state courts unreasonably found that the investigators never made Dassey any promises during the March 1, 2006 interrogation.
The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on October 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about.
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.
While the circumstances for relief may be rare, even extraordinary, it is the conclusion of the court that this case represents the sort of ‘extreme malfunction in the state criminal justice system’ that federal habeas corpus relief exists to correct.
I don’t really know what all that means, but it sounds like justice might be done providing that nobody appeals against the ruling. There are 90 days for this appeal process to be felt, and if it does occur than it’s quite possible that another judge won’t come to the same conclusions as Duffin. I think everyone reading this will probably agree that Dassey has suffered enough and needs to get out of prison now, whether this actually happens is anyone’s guess though.
Of course, this has a huge bearing on Steven Avery’s case too, and his appeal is set to be lodged at the end of August. Stay tuned.