Brendan Dassey is the young man from Netflix’s controversial Making A Murderer docu-series who would appear to have been convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. The series focused on Brendan and his uncle Steven Avery and whether or not they were unjustly convicted of the 2005 murder of photographer Theresa Halbach. My mental jury is still out on Avery, but to me, the doc clearly showed how police detectives and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s Office railroaded then 16-year-old, intellectually deficient Brendan into confessing. It looked like justice had (for once) actually triumphed and Brendan was getting out. Not so. Buzzfeed reports that Brendan lost his appeal on Friday. Can’t The Miz, Sheamus, and his other WWE heroes band together to break his ass out?
Brendan’s 2007 conviction was overturned in November 2016 by a federal judge and the ruling was signed off on by a panel of three appeals court judges. Prosecutors REALLY want to keep Brendan in the cooler because his being allowed to go home to watch WWE Raw would confirm some serious corruption has gone on in the Manitowoc County PD and the Wisconsin AG’s office. So Wisconsin prosecutors asked that a full panel of seven judges review the decision to overturn Brendan’s conviction. Brendan lost 4 – 3.
On Friday, the larger appeals panel ruled 4–3 that police had acted properly during Dassey’s confession, and his words could be used against him in court. Dassey will continue to serve his life sentence in prison.
The judges who voted in favor of keeping Brendan locked up said there was no evidence of coercion.
“The interrogation took place in a comfortable setting, without any physical coercion or intimidation, without even raised voices, and over a relatively brief time,” their opinion said. “Dassey provided many of the most damning details himself in response to open‐ended questions. On a number of occasions he resisted the interrogators’ strong suggestions on particular details. Also, the investigators made no specific promises of leniency.”
The three judges who voted in Brendan’s favor begged to differ, noting that Brendan was a “mentally limited 16-year-old.”
“Psychological coercion, questions to which the police furnished the answers, and ghoulish games of ’20 Questions,’ in which Brendan Dassey guessed over and over again before he landed on the ‘correct’ story (i.e., the one the police wanted), led to the ‘confession’ that furnished the only serious evidence supporting his murder conviction in the Wisconsin courts,” the dissent said.
The judges in Brendan’s corner also broke down the confession “statement by statement” and argued how each admission of guilt was coerced by police. During the trial, the prosecutor told the jury that innocent people don’t confess to crimes. Not so, Kenny.
“We know, however, that this statement is unequivocally incorrect,” the dissenters said, pointing to exonerations made possible by DNA evidence. “Innocent people do in fact confess, and they do so with shocking regularity.”
Brendan’s lawyers say that they’re not giving up and will continue to fight for his freedom. That doesn’t seem possible unless you move this mess to a state run by way less shady people.