‘Making a Murderer’ accused, Brendan Dassey, granted release

A US appeals court found that his confession was coerced
Calumet County Jail

A US court of appeals has found that a confession made by inmate, Brendan Dassey, who featured on Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer, was coerced.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after telling detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer, Teresa Halbach, in the Avery family’s salvage yard in 2005.

Dassey, just 16 at the time and suffering from cognitive issues, was questioned without the presence of a parent or guardian.

Dassey during his taped interview with police

His controversial confession was first ruled unlawful and his conviction was overturned by a magistrate in August last year. However an appeal by the state’s justice department has kept him behind bars since.

Now a three-judge panel from the Chicago-based Court of Appeals have upheld the magistrate’s decision to overturn his conviction.

Judge Ilana Rovner cited ‘the leading, fact-feeding, the false promises, the manipulation of Dassey’s desire to please’ as reasons that ‘no reasonable court’ could be confident that Dassey’s confession was given voluntarily.

Judge David Hamilton said, ‘the majority’s decision breaks new ground and poses troubling questions for police and prosecutors. It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles.’

The methods by which Dassey’s confession was obtained were heavily scrutinised in the 2016 Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer.

Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial.

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