Federal Judge Overturns Conviction of Brendan Dassey

On Friday, August 12, 2016, U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, one of the defendants highlighted in the documentary ‘Making A Murderer.’ The judge has given the state 90 days to either initiate proceedings to retry him or release him from prison.

In his 91-page decision, the judge concluded:

“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.”

Law Professors Steven A. Drizin and Laura Nirider of the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth represented Dassey in the appellate process. The Clinic has represented Dassey since 2008.

View the full decision here.

Read the Center on Wrongful Convictions press release, which includes links to instructive  information regarding youth interrogation and false confessions.

One response to “Federal Judge Overturns Conviction of Brendan Dassey

  1. The appointed trial lawyer was private, not a public defender, and a solo. Two characteristics that lead to wrongful convictions–in federal courts as well as state courts. In federal courts the appointed lawyer automatically is assigned to the direct appeal. How likely is it that lawyer will self-criticize?

    Kachinsky, the trial lawyer, used to be in a partnership that ended bitterly, according to another Wisconsin appeal. And that was his second failed partnership.

    Defendants are doomed when they are assigned to private attorneys who are solos. Typically, it is not as obvious as in this case but they need to be warned.

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