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Judges affirm 'Making a Murderer' confession was coerced

23 June 2017

Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted in separate trials of killing freelance photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery's home and scrap yard.

Avery and Dassey contend they were framed by police angry with Avery for suing Manitowoc County over his wrongful conviction for sexual assault.

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled 2-1 to uphold a federal judge's ruling previous year that overturned Dassey's conviction for a 2005 murder.

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The state has argued that "Dassey's confession was not coerced because the investigators who questioned him never made him any explicit promises", as the Journal Sentinel reported. "We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to re-litigate his guilty verdict and sentence".

Lawyers for Brendan Dassey, one of two men featured in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer", say they'll take immediate steps to secure his release now that a federal appeals court says his confession was improperly obtained.

A three-judge panel from the Chicago-based 7th Circuit upheld the magistrate's decision to overturn his conviction. The case has gained worldwide attention due to the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer". There was no forensic evidence supporting Dassey's story that Halbach had been stabbed, raped, bound or cut. "Investigators did find Halbach's blood in her vehicle and her DNA on a bullet fragment in Avery's garage".

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Dissenting Judge David Hamilton thought the confession, and the conviction itself, passed muster.

"The focus of the judge's decision was on the interrogation when Dassey confessed".

One judge on the panel dissented, saying that while there were some "factors" supporting the view that the confession was not voluntary, others support the view that "overall, the confession was voluntary". "The Wisconsin Court of Appeals could have been much more thorough in its discussion, but its conclusion was within the bounds of reason. We should reverse the district court's grant of the writ of habeas corpus".

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During Dassey's interrogation, investigators can be seen feeding him information and leading him to give the answers they were looking for regarding the murder of Teresa Halbach.