Brendan Dassey Conviction Overturned in Making a Murderer Case
Back in December, the same day that Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, Netflix debuted their new documentary series Making a Murderer, which, just like the new Star Wars movie, became a cultural phenomenon. The series followed Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, who were both convicted for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, although the series offered plenty of evidence that suggested both men were innocent. Earlier today, justice was served for Brendan Dassey, whose conviction was overturned by a federal judge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Associated Press reports that the judge ordered Brendan Dassey shall be freed within the next 90 days, unless prosecutors seek to re-try him. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice would not comment on whether or not they would re-try the case. Here's what Magistrate Judge William Duffin wrote in his ruling, about the "false promises" made to Dassey throughout the case.
"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."
This ruling came after Brendan Dassey's appeal was rejected by the state courts. Brendan Dassey was just 16 years old when Theresa Halbach was killed in 2005, confessing to law enforcement officials that he helped his uncle Steven Avery rape and murder Theresa Halbach, although his attorneys argued that his rights were violated throughout the interrogation. Steven Avery was convicted for the murder in a separate trial, and he is currently appealing his conviction, for which he is serving a life sentence. The first season became so popular that fans even urged President Obama to pardon Steven Avery in an online petition, although the President responded by saying he cannot pardon a state criminal offense, and that a pardon would have to be issued at the state level.
This news comes just three weeks after Netflix issued a Season 2 renewal for Making a Murderer, which is currently in production. The renewal announcement revealed that Season 2 will follow Avery and Dassey's investigative and legal teams as they challenge their convictions, while the State fights to have the convictions and life sentences upheld. This new season will also offer exclusive access to Avery's new lawyer Kathleen Zellner and Dassey's legal team, led by Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin, as well as intimate access to the families and characters close to the case. The first season earned 6 Emmy Award Nominations. Stay tuned for more on Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery's intriguing cases as we begin the wait for Making A Murderer Season 2.