Wisconsin Appeals Overturning of Conviction for Brendan Dassey in ‘Making a Murderer’ Case


A federal judge’s ruling that overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, who is serving a life sentence in connection with Teresa Halbach’s murder, will be appealed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Attorney General Brad Schimel filed a notice of appeal Friday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. On Aug. 12, Federal Magistrate William Duffin granted Dassey’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. Duffin’s ruling is stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

“We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law,” said Schimel. “Two state courts carefully examined the evidence and properly concluded that Brendan Dassey’s confession to sexually assaulting and murdering Teresa Halbach with his uncle, Steven Avery, was voluntary, and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics.”

Schimel said Halbach’s family “has been notified of the appeal and fully supports the State’s decision to seek justice on behalf of their daughter.”

The Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University in Chicago, which is representing Dassey, issued a statement in the wake of the filing by the Department of Justice.

“We are disappointed in the State’s decision to prolong Brendan’s case by seeking an appeal,” the release stated. “We look forward to continuing to defend his rights in court. Like Brendan, we remain grateful to his many supporters for their continued loyalty and strength.”

Making a Murderer, a Netflix documentary series that began airing last December, introduced millions of people to Avery and Dassey, and many legal experts and defense attorneys were taken aback at techniques used to interrogate Dassey.

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SOURCE: USA Today; The (Appleton, Wis.) Post-Crescent, Andy Thompson