Giant shards of cynicism and bitterness are permanently stuck into my brain, so not much really surprises me anymore, but when I read the headline, “Making a Murderer: Brendan Dassey’s conviction overturned,” I said WHAT so loud that my dog woke up from his 48th nap of the day, rolled his eyes and probably thought, “Loser’s talking to himself again, those emancipation papers can’t come sooner.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that today, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled that Brendan Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated when he was questioned for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Judge Duffin overturned Brendan’s murder conviction and ordered his release.
Judge Duffin said in his 91-page ruling that Brendan’s first attorney Len Kachinsky was a mess and spent more time speaking to the press than meeting with Brendan. Judge Duffin also said that Brendan’s confession wasn’t voluntary due to the investigators making fraudulent promises. The judge also dragged investigators for interviewing a then 16-year-old Brendan without an adult:
“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. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.
Although it probably does not need to be stated, it will be: Kachinsky’s conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically. 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.”
Brendan was only 17 when he was found guilty of first-degree murder in 2007. He was sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole in 2048. Brendan’s uncle Steven Avery was also found guilty and got hit with a life sentence without parole.
If all goes well for Brendan, he’ll get to leave that orange jumpsuit behind and check out of the chokey within the next three months. But he will have to stay in prison if the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office decides to re-file charges against him. They told TMZ that they haven’t made a decision about that yet.
Whenever I talk to someone about Making a Murderer, we sometimes disagree about whether or not we think Steven Avery did it and we can scream at each other about that until our vocal cords file for divorce from our body. But nearly everyone I’ve talked to agrees that based on what we were shown, Brendan Dassey got screwed. Watching Brendan’s interrogations made my hair fall out by itself.
Netflix ordered a second season of Making a Murderer, so hopefully in one of those episodes, there will be a scene where a newly-released Brendan goes to WrestleMania with his kittens.