Brendan Dassey's Murder Conviction Overturned (Photos)

| by Sheena Vasani
Brendan Dassey Brendan Dassey

On Aug. 12, a federal judge freed and overturned a murder conviction against the man who the Netflix series, "Making A Murderer," made famous.

The then 16-year-old Brendan Dassey was convicted alongside his uncle, Steven Avery, in the 2005 rape and murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach before the Netflix series cast doubts and helped prompt further investigation, The Brandon Sun reports.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin accused investigators of handling the case poorly, stating that Dassey's constitutional rights had been violated, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

Duffin also accused investigators of making false promises during the interrogation process, prompting the judge to label Dassey's confession as involuntary.

"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 14th Amendments," said Duffin. "The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law."

The judge specifically criticized Dassey's first attorney, Len Kachinsky, saying he made things worse for the man.

"Although it probably does not need to be stated, it will be: Kachinsky’s conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically," said Duffin. "It is one thing for an attorney to point out to a client how deep of a hole the client is in. But to assist the prosecution in digging that hole deeper is an affront to the principles of justice that underlie a defense attorney’s vital role in the adversarial system," Duffin wrote.

Duffin ordered Dassey be “released from custody unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceedings to retry him," Deadline reports.

Dassey's uncle, Avery, is reportedly happy about the ruling and is working on his own appeal.

"We know when an unbiased court reviews all of the new evidence we have, Steven will have his conviction overturned as well," said Kathleen Zellner, an attorney for Avery.

Sources: The Brandon Sun, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Deadline / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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