November 17, 2016 heralded a new development in the case featured in Netflix’s hugely popular 10-part series, “Making a Murderer.” CNN reported that a federal appeal court refused to allow the release of Brendan Dassey, a teen who provided a confession under questionable circumstances in the murder case that was the focus of the Netflix documentary. Dassey was convicted of murder charges in 2007, but the conviction was overthrown in August 2016 when a judge found that the interrogation techniques which evoked the confession were improper.
The Wisconsin Attorney General who fought against his release considered the decision a victory, and Dassey will remain imprisoned pending an appeal on the matter. This murder case has many twists and turns, so a final determination may still be months away.
The Path to Dassey’s Conviction
In 2005, Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, was arrested in the death of a female photographer whose charred remains were found on his property. Tissue and bone matching the woman’s DNA profile were also found at that location, along with her vehicle. After obtaining this evidence at Avery’s property, police interrogated Dassey, who admitted to assisting his uncle in the sexual assault and murder of the photographer. He was convicted based upon the information he provided during the interview.
However, a judge overturned the conviction due to the techniques police used during the interrogation. Dassey, 16 years old at the time, was a developmentally disabled; plus, his confession was obtained without the presence of his mother or a lawyer.
Prosecutors’ Renewed Efforts
After overturning the conviction in August, the court gave prosecutors 90 days to bring Dassey to trial on any charges separate from the involuntary confession. On November 14, 2016, a judge ordered for his release from prison. However, state’s attorneys filed an emergency motion to stay the release just a few days later. They argued that two state courts had examined evidence in the case and found that the confession was voluntary and not unconstitutional. The motion also stated that Dassey had admitted to the sex and murder crimes in great detail, using techniques that many courts throughout the country have approved in similar cases.
As a result, the court blocked Dassey’s release pending an appeal on the charges. Meanwhile, his uncle is in prison in Wisconsin, having also been convicted of the photographer’s murder. Dassey has maintained his innocence throughout the original trial, after recanting his confession shortly after providing it.
Criminal Defense Representation in San Diego
San Diego prosecuting attorneys have a tough burden of proof in a murder case and there are often opportunities to defend the charges. Claims of improper interrogation techniques or other procedural issues may lead to your release in a criminal case, but you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side to fight for your rights in court. A criminal attorney with extensive experience in California law will protect your interests and present all available defenses. Please contact a trusted criminal attorney in San Diego to discuss the details of your case and options for defending against murder charges.
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San Diego, CA