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'Making a Murderer' confession was coerced and 'crafted by investigators,' court affirms

25 June 2017

The Chicago-based 7th Circuit panel upheld a ruling that overturned his conviction past year in the case made famous by Netflix's Making a Murderer.

On Thursday, the appeals court released a 2-1 decision siding with Dassey that his confession to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill Halbach on Halloween 2005 was coerced by Manitowoc County investigators.

The federal panel ruled that Dassey's confession, in which he said he helped his uncle in raping and killing Halbach, was involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

A federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled Dassey be released from prison within 90 days, unless the state decides to retry him.

Dassey has been behind bars for the past ten years, and has spent his entire adult life detained.

"We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to relitigate his guilty verdict and sentence", Koremenos said.

Zellner said the ruling only lends credence to what she's been saying about both post-conviction cases since she became Steven's lawyer a year ago.

Avery is seeking a new trial.

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But Dassey remained in jail while prosecutors appealed the decision.

"But it's clearly the correct decision as the court pointed out the Wisconsin state courts didn't look at the specific qualities of Brendan Dassey: his intellectual limitations, and the specifics about him and they totally missed that analysis".

The Wisconsin Department of Justice tells WBAY, "We are evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court".

Dassey's lawyers from the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University said they're elated and will take immediate steps to secure his release.

Thursday's decision from the three-judge panel was split, with Judges Ilana Rovner and Ann Williams in the majority and Judge David Hamilton Hamilton dissenting.

Dassey offered conflicting versions of his story, according to the appeals court opinion. Ken Kratz told the Avery jury that Halbach took a picture of a vehicle at the home of George and JoEllen Zipperer on October 31, 2005, then drove to the Avery property where she was killed later that afternoon. The 2015 Netflix documentary series raised questions about the conviction, leading some to believe that Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who was also charged with the murder and is serving a life sentence, are innocent. Dassey has offered a detailed release plan that was prepared with the assistance of a clinical social worker with experience in similar cases.

"My assumption is that they would have to release him, based on the judge's order unless they get another stay from the Supreme Court", Dvorak says.

August 12, 2016: A judge throws out Dassey's conviction, ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics.

'Making a Murderer' confession was coerced and 'crafted by investigators,' court affirms