Criminal Justice

Conviction Overturned for Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey

A federal judge rules that the then-teenager's murder confession was involuntary and his Constitutional rights were violated.


Brendan Dassey, who was tried in 2007 for allegedly helping his uncle Steven Avery murder Teresa Halbach, has had his conviction overturned by a federal judge in Milwaukee. The trials of Dassey and Avery were featured in the popular Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer.

Currently 26, Dassey is serving a life sentence and has been in prison since he was 16 years old. The learning-disabled teenager confessed to the alleged crime after police pulled him out of school for hours-long interrogations without his attorney or his mother present.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled that police had made "repeated false promises" to elicit the confession and that,

"when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey's age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, [they] rendered Dassey's confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."

The state has 90 days to appeal the ruling or file for a new trial, after which Dassey will be released.

In June, Reason TV sat down with Jerry Buting, a defense attorney for Steven Avery who is featured prominently in Making a Murderer, for a wide-ranging discussion of the Dassey and Avery murder trials, updates since their convictions, and his prescriptions for fixing the criminal justice system. Buting goes into detail about the techniques police used to extract a confession from Dassey and the misconduct by his initial public defender, Len Kachinsky, which Duffin described in his ruling today as "inexcusable both tactically and ethically."

Watch the full interview here:

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  1. I haven’t had a chance to see the doc yet, but I really need to. I was glad to read this news today.

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  2. I also guess that every prosecutor and cop involved in this travesty is still on the job?

    1. I think for the most part (the prosecutor is out over sexy-time texts with a crime victim, or some such person) that would be true.

      I can understand, sort of, the ability to appeal the ruling, but why does the state get to re-prosecute if a judge said they abused his civil rights? Shouldn’t that only happen if the highest-ruling court overturned that finding?

      1. I would presume they can try to prosecute again, without the benefit of his confession, relying on whatever other evidence they might have against him.

        1. Yeah and the political shitstorm and circus trial that would follow. There have been dumber prosecutors though

  3. On an otherwise very stressful day a little good news. They may have framed the right guy when they went after Avery, but this poor schmuck was obviously collateral damage. If the State of Wisconsin does not stand down on this ruling I may cross the Northern border to witness the ensuing rioting. Got a 5HP chipper. Fits in the back of a mini van.
    Congrats to the filmmakers, attorneys and Mr. Dassey. And thanks to the Magistrate judge.

  4. You know who else was “inexcusable both tactically and ethically”?

    1. Captain Jizz Master Zero?

  5. Dassey was screwed by his own attorney. His attorney made statements in the media that he was guilty before even speaking with him, had an investigator hired by the attorney get him to sign a false confession which he gave to the police, and gave police permission to interview Dassey for hours without his attorney present. The video of the interview by the police was a classic example of abusing a mentally disabled child to get a false confession.

    His attorney should be disbarred and then shot.

    1. Disbarred? That’s rich. The Bar is for protecting attorneys jobs, not about protecting the ethics of their profession.

  6. Release all murdering morons! But don’t reduce mandatory minimums for hemp smokers who violate the rights of nobody at all–and don’t throw us in that briar patch!

  7. Just out touched my daughter for the last Cheetoh by a hundredth of a second.

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  8. I’ve noticed a disturbance in the force recently. Hillary supporters I come into contact with have shifted from, “She’s bad, but she’s better than Trump” to, “I reject the idea that I’m holding my nose when I vote for Hillary. She’s 90% of what I want”. Guess the stroking of ruffled Bernbot’s feathers is over.

  9. Suck it, Ken Kratz, lol! What a fucking loser. If Making a Murderer made him suicidal, what’s going to happen if Dassey and Avery both get out? Oh my!

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