CHICAGO -- (WITI) -- The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, June 22, affirmed a decision by a judge to overturn Brendan Dassey's conviction, according to Dassey's attorney. The three-judge panel said Dassey was coerced into confessing and should be released from prison.
Dassey's attorney, Steven Drizin, posted to Twitter Thursday indicating the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision by Judge Duffin, 2-1.
Drizin said “This round goes to Brendan Dassey 2-1,” with Judge Hamilton dissenting.
The final judgement issued by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals says:
“The decision of the district court is affirmed, with costs, in all respects. The writ of habeas corpus is granted unless the State of Wisconsin elects to retry Dassey within 90 days of issuance of this court's final mandate, or the Supreme Court's final mandate. The above is in accordance with the decision of this court entered on this date.”
A spokesman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice issued this statement:
“We are evaluating the 2-1 decision from the court. We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that the erroneous decision will be reversed. 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.”
In 2005, Dassey, then 16, confessed to authorities that he assisted his uncle, Steven Avery, in raping and killing photographer Teresa Halbach, who went missing on Halloween in 2005. Her charred remains were found in November 2005 on Avery family property in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
The case was chronicled in the controversial 10-part Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” which suggested that investigators took advantage of Dassey's youth and limited intellect to coax him into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. Court documents stated that Dassey IQ's was “assessed as being in the low average to borderline range.”
Dassey, who has been incarcerated at a state prison in Wisconsin, serving a life sentence, later recanted.
Judge Duffin overturned Dassey's conviction in August, citing the manner in which the confession was attained. He called it “so clearly involuntary in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals' decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.”
“The court's decision rests on a fundamental principle that is too often forgotten by courts and law enforcement officers: Interrogation tactics which may not be coercive when used on adults are coercive when used on juveniles, particularly young people like Brendan with disabilities,” said Dassey's attorneys, Steven A. Drizin and Laura Nirider, in August.
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in February as to whether Dassey's confession should stand.