The murder conviction of Brendan Dassey, whose trial was detailed in the Netflix documentary “Making A Murderer,” was overturned by a federal judge on Friday. The state of Wisconsin has 90 days to appeal the judge’s ruling.
In his ruling, Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin said Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated when investigators interrogated the then-16-year-old boy without an adult present. The police made the situation worse by telling Dassey, who is intellectually disabled, that they were on his side. The judge also took issue with Dassey’s lawyer, who allowed detectives to grill the boy without his mom present.
Wisconsin must appeal the decision within 90 days or release Dassey from custody.
Dassey’s testimony was a crucial piece of evidence used to convict his uncle, Steven Avery, of first-degree murder. The trial of Avery, who had previously been convicted of rape years earlier, only to have that conviction overturned due to DNA evidence, became national news after Netflix aired “Making A Murder,” its 2015 documentary about the life and legal troubles of Avery. The documentary ignited a national firestorm about police and judicial misconduct.
You can read the federal judge’s ruling overturning Dassey’s murder conviction here.
For more background on Steven Avery’s murder trial and eventual conviction, be sure to check out these articles: