August 12, 2016

"Brendan Dassey, who was convicted along with his uncle, Steven Avery, in the murder of Teresa Halbach, had that conviction overturned Friday..."

"... by a federal magistrate judge in Milwaukee."
The shocking ruling, in a case made famous in the Netflix series "Making A Murderer," could result in Dassey getting a new trial or being freed from prison. It gives prosecutors 90 days to decide whether to retry Dassey, although an appeal could extend the proceedings....

"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," [wrote U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin].
Much more at the link, which goes to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


Mark said...

I am surprised it took this long.

The Dassey initial defense was legal malpractice. Avery might he guilty, but two wrongs don't make a right.

320Busdriver said...

About time

The doc clearly showed his rights were violated. And I am not convinced he was not at least present during the crime either.

320Busdriver said...

What suprises me more than anything is/was how local radio hosts, some who have worked as prosecutors or attorneys, were so quick to attempt to impugn the documentary and even those who might watch it, when they themselves did not watch much or any of it.

Danno said...

Blogger 320Busdriver - Is that as in Airbus 320?

320Busdriver said...


Affirmative sir.

narciso said...

and what does that have to do withe evidence, isn't this the same publication, that hid chisholm's abuse of power,

narciso said...

some questions are answered here,

FullMoon said...

Is Dassey a Lib? 'Cause he is obviously a ...... slow learner.

Paul said...

"but two wrongs don't make a right."

But they do make us even!

Now question is... in his confession did he mention facts only the murderers knew?

narciso said...

well he was able to learn just enough to fool a donor to doyle, who ended up on the district court, admittedly that doesn't take much,

Mark said...

Paul, read the transcript especially the part about shooting Theresa.

Textbook mistakes by police interrogators. Look at Kachinsky's actions as Dassey's lawyer.

Read the's eye openong.

tim maguire said...

Given what we know about human memory, it's pretty shocking how much weight is given to eye witness testimony and even to confessions. The reason I got out of trial practice, and part of the reason I got out of law altogether, was the disappointment at discovering how unconcerned courts are with getting at the truth. The role of the judge is to ensure the courtroom process is followed. Truth and the actual effects on people's lives is largely irrelevant.

MayBee said...

was the disappointment at discovering how unconcerned courts are with getting at the truth.

I've been thinking about plea bargains lately. I always thought they are a good idea, but it suddenly hit me they are only good for the guilty person. For the innocent person, it really only is protection against a bigger wrongful conviction. Almost a form of blackmail.

MayBee said...

Now question is... in his confession did he mention facts only the murderers knew?

Brandon Dassey seemed to fish around his brain to provide "facts" the police were looking for.

320Busdriver said...

Yes, Dasseys 1st attorney L Kachinsky, served up Dassey to LEO's for interrogation on a Saturday. On his own. By himself. It's just that Len could not be there because, well, because he had drill weekend for the reserves scheduled that day.

Seems like perfectly good counsel to me.

JAORE said...

And the penalty for the LEOs and prosecutors would be.....

Yeah, I know.

James Graham said...

I hope Avery doesn't get off.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger James Graham said...
I hope Avery doesn't get off.

8/13/16, 8:14 AM

Well, there's two of us

JCC said...

In fact, Dassey repeated facts that only someone familiar with the crime scene and details would know. The interrogators even inserted false facts and assumptions into the conversation to test whether Dassey was simply agreeing with the cops and feedling them the same info back. Dassey in fact resisted false predicates and demonstrated he had an independent recollection of events.

Remember too that Dassey became the focus of the cops weeks after Avery had been arrested, and that they only came back to reinterview Dassey after another relative told the police that Dassey was acting out of character, losing weight and evidencing signs of guilt and fear about the case.

Dassey too in a phone conversation with his mother admitted to doing "some of the things" the police said he admitted. Physical evidence - bleach stains on his clothes - pretty clearly show he was at the very least, present for the disposal of the body and the clean-up.

Having said all that, I do not understand how the magistrate did not reach on the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel. Instead, though, the magistrate decided the confession was "coerced", but not in the sense cops threatened or used force, but because they tricked the defendant into confession.

The defendant is IMO obviously guilty of some crime, and probably was present while the victim was still alive. But he'll walk free unless an appellate court reverses the magistrate. So when he kills someone else, what then? A judge and jury of his peers found him guilty, several layers of appellate courts affirmed his conviction, but now yet another judge has decided that all those other judges were wrong. The state has to win 100% of the time, the defendant only once. And the voice of the citizens, in the form of a jury, has been set aside.

JCC said...

@ Jaore -

"And the penalty for the LEOs and prosecutors would be....."

Penalty for what? Only convincing 90% of the judges who reviewed the case that they acted properly?

Or maybe penalty for trying to nail down whether Dassey was really involved in the rape and murder of an innocent woman? That's really what this is all about. Not whether a single judge, 10 years after the fact, has decided to second guess the cops' actions, actions reviewed and permitted by numerous other judges including the State Supreme Court.

s'opihjerdt said...

The documentary clearly showed that:

There was a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

There is a dinosaur in Loch Ness.

And space aliens built the period.

Eustace Chilke said...

Where does the kid go to get ten years of life back? Who will hold the perps in the justice system accountable?

It's a shame BLM is a commie front disguised as a racial justice movement. Racializing the criminal justice problem makes reform less likely. The system badly needs reform but reform generally, already a pipe dream, becomes less likely every day.

mtrobertslaw said...

A "former business attorney" with virtually no criminal experience second guesses the Wisconsin Court of of Appeals and the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Here's the reasoning he uses: "True, no single statement by the investigators, if viewed in isolation, rendered Dassey's statement involuntary. But when assessed collectively and cumulatively,as voluntariness must be assessed, it is clear how the investigators' actions amounted to deceptive interrogation tactics that overbore Dassey's free will."

Unfortunately for the magistrate, he used the wrong test. The test sanctioned by the Wisconsin Supreme Court is this:

"The inquiry is whether the confession was procured via coercive means or whether it was the product of improper pressures exercised by the police. ... The presence or absence of actual coercion or improper police practices is the focus of the inquiry because it is determinate on the issue of whether the inculpatory statement was the product of a 'free and unconstrained will, reflecting deliberateness of choice.' " State v. Clappes, 401 N.W. 2d 759 (1987).

The magistrate admits "True, no single statement by the investigators, if viewed in isolation, rendered Dassey's statement involuntary." The implication that follows from this admission is since any single statement by the police officers has a value of zero in determining whether Dassey's confession was involuntary, any combination of zero-value statements will always have a zero value.

This magistrate will be reversed on appeal.

JCC said...

@ Eustace -

"Who will hold the perps in the justice system accountable?"

Which perps are those? The ones who convinced a jury to vote guilty of all charges within a few hours? The ones whose conduct was considered and decided to be appropriate by several layers of courts, including a multiple judge panel of the State Supreme Court?

"Where does the kid go to get ten years of life back?"

Probably the same place the dead victim goes, since this man stole all that she had and all that she ever would have, including her future, a family, more. Except he wasn't handcuffed to a bed naked while 2 rapists discussed how to kill her when they are done sexually assaulting her.

Three different courts and judges opine the cops acted correctly. One judge disagrees and decides the murderer goes free because that judge thinks the cops shaded their interrogation enough it make it coercive, and you want to call the cops "perps?'

It's time you thought about this, and realize that appellate court decisions, especially on CP cases, are almost random in their application, and are as much about ego and an opinion on capital punishment as they are about the actual events.

And BTW, a U S Magistrate - who is not even an Article III judge - demonstrates that within every judge is a secret William O. Douglas, yearning to be free and write soaring things that affect great events. AEDPA was passed by the Congress to prevent such as this precisely, and the Federal judges are charged to greatly defer to state courts' factual findings. Which didn't happen here.

OGWiseman said...

I have no opinion on the legal merits of this, but I did watch the video of that "confession", and all I can say is thank Christ they threw it out. The fact that a judge watched that tape and gave a stamp of approval to that farce was the most shocking thing about that entire documentary for me. Legal? Maybe. Unconscionable and a miscarriage of real-world justice? Absolutely.