U.S.

Brendan Dassey coercion ruling backed by judges

Brendan Dassey coercion ruling backed by judges

A federal appeals court ruled to uphold a lower court's decision to overturn Brendan Dassey's conviction on Thursday.

The decision to overturn his conviction was upheld with a vote of 2-to-1 by a three-judge panel at the Chicago-based Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Thursday.

The now 27-year-old was originally convicted in 2007 of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault in the killing of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisc., and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 41 years.

In the confession heavily relied upon by prosecutors, Dassey told police officers he helped Avery rape and kill Halbach at his Wisconsin salvage yard.

Last year, a judge ordered that he be released as he said the confession was coerced and consideration had to be given "to his age, intellectual deficits and the absence of a supportive adult".

"By the time of the trial, Dassey had recanted his confession, and the State had failed to find any evidence linking him to the crime, but he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison nonetheless".

At the time of his indictment, Dassey was a 16-year-old sophomore at Mishicot High School with an IQ in the borderline deficiency range.

Dassey's attorneys say they're elated and will take immediate steps to secure his release. She says he's already been in prison for 4,132 days. They have 90 days to decide whether they'll retry him.




The majority opinion states, "Dassey's interview could be viewed in a psychology class as a ideal example of operant conditioning".

In August, the state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which kept Dassey, now, 26, behind bars pending the outcome. The case was the topic of the documentary series Making a Murderer, broadcast by Netflix.

After Duffin's ruling in 2016, he outlined restrictions for Dassey if he were to be released.

The attorney for Dassey's uncle Steven Avery tweeted, "Brendan Won!"

The Emmy-winning documentary suggested that authorities planted evidence against both defendants, a claim rejected by the current sheriff.

Throughout the interrogation, investigators told Dassey, then a high school sophomore whose IQ had been measured between 74 and 81, that "honesty" is what they wanted to hear and that it's "the only thing that will set you free".

In the motion, attorneys Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin ask the court to lift a stay that's blocking Dassey's release from prison.


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