Advertisement
The VICE Guide to Right Now

'Making a Murderer' Subject's Confession Unlawfully Coerced, Judge Rules

A US District Court judge ruled that Brendan Dassey's confession was "involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments."

by VICE Staff
Aug 12 2016, 8:48pm

Footage of Brendan Dassey's confession via Youtube


On Friday, a Wisconsin federal judge ordered the release of Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey, the Associated Press reports.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to helping his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and murder Teresa Halbach, who had come to photograph a vehicle on Avery's property. Back in 2005, Dassey's attorneys argued that investigators violated his rights and coerced his confession.

Now, US District Court Magistrate Judge William Duffin has ruled that Dassey's confession was "involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments," because investigators made "false promises" and interviewed Dassey without the presence of an adult, knowing he had learning disabilities.

Duffin also slammed Dassey's defense attorney Len Kachinsky, who is seen aggressively trying to get Dassey to confess to the crime in the Netflix series.

"Although it probably does not need to be stated, it will be: Kachinsky's conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically," Duffin wrote in his 91-page ruling. "It is one thing for an attorney to point out to a client how deep of a hole the client is in. But to assist the prosecution in digging that hole deeper is an affront to the principles of justice that underlie a defense attorney's vital role in the adversarial system."

Dassey is to be freed within 90 days unless prosecutors decide to retry him.

Read: We Asked an Exoneration Expert About 'Making a Murderer' and America's True Crime Obsession

Tagged:
VICE US
crime
News
murder
Netflix
Confession
JUSTICE
Judge
true crime
steven avery
Making a Murderer
brendan dassey
news-cycle
criminal justice system
Teresa Halbach
false confession
legal system