Law in Popular Culture

7th Circuit bars release of nephew in 'Making a Murderer' case

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Making a Murderer.

Brendan Dassey will have to stay in jail while the state of Wisconsin appeals his overturned conviction.

The Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday granted (PDF) an emergency request to keep Dassey in jail pending an appeal. Dassey’s case received widespread attention after it was examined in the Netflix series Making a Murderer. The Associated Press and Fox 6 Now have stories on the 7th Circuit stay.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin of Milwaukee overturned Dassey’s 2007 murder conviction in August and ordered his release on Monday. Duffin had found police used coercive techniques in getting 16-year-old Dassey to confess to helping his uncle, Steven Avery, kill photographer Teresa Halbach.

The stay motion (PDF) filed by the state of Wisconsin said that Dassey “admitted to his crimes in extensive detail, in an entirely voluntary confession, during which investigators used techniques that courts around the country have approved time and again.”

In response (PDF), lawyers for Dassey said their client was led to believe he would not be in trouble if he accepted the statements of officers interrogating him. The lawyers also said Dassey’s release would be supervised and he posed no risk of flight.

“In essence,” Dassey’s lawyers wrote, the state “wants this court to erase the district’s grant of bond so it can throw its old arguments against a new wall—the 7th Circuit—to see if they stick.”

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