If there are any conclusions from Making a Murderer, Netflix's ten-part docu-series released last month, it's that lawyers can make or break a trial. Few characters exemplify this more than Len Kachinsky, the public defender assigned to represent 16-year-old Brendan Dassey, a kid with an IQ below 70 and seemingly no understanding of the repercussions for confessing to murder.
As a quick refresher: Immediately after he was hired—before he'd even met Dassey—Kachinsky told the press his client was "morally and legally responsible" for his alleged crimes. Then he hired an investigator to pressure Dassey to sign a confession and draw lurid pictures of crimes he said he didn't commit. And finally, he sent the kid to be interrogated by the police, alone. At best, the series makes him appear incompetent; at worst, conspiratorial.
In an interview on TMZ Live today, where he was confronted about Dassey's trial, Kachinsky admitted that, yeah, he probably should've done a few things differently.
Harvey Levin, the host of TMZ Live, first asked Kachinsky if he believed Dassey was guilty, since he took "aggressive steps" to convince Dassey to confess. Kachinsky didn't weigh in on the matter of guilt, but said the signed confession obtained by the investigator was for "internal use" only. (He doesn't explain what that "internal use" was.)
Then Levin asked Kachinsky why he sent his client to talk to the police without counsel, and "let them grill him like a cheeseburger." At first, Kachinsky said he couldn't be there because he had army reserve duty.
"Why not delay the interview?" Levin asked.
"In 20/20 hindsight," Kachinsky said, "I would've."
Still, Kachinsky denies that he may have screwed up the kid's case. "Frankly, I'm not responsible for Dassey going to prison," he told The Wrap in an interview today. "You can say I made a mistake, that I should've [attended] or I should have rescheduled the interview—that's valid criticism."
Kachinsky also said he hasn't seen Making a Murderer yet, which must make his sudden rise to internet infamy very confusing.
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