Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upholds Brendan Dassey's conviction

Making a Murderer's Brendan Dassey will not be freed from prison after a US appeals court voted to uphold his murder conviction Friday.

Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after telling detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach.

"The state courts' finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable", the court's decision stated.

A federal judge had overturned Dassey's conviction a year ago, accepting that detectives took advantage of Dassey's learning disabilities to get a confession. A three-person panel of judges from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that magistrate's decision this summer, but a larger gathering of the court's judges determined this week that Dassey's conviction should be upheld.

Chicago • A federal appeals court in Chicago narrowly overturned a ruling Friday that could have freed a Wisconsin inmate featured in the "Making a Murderer" series from prison, though one dissenting judge called the case "a profound miscarriage of justice". "I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice".

Dassey's only remaining legal option would be to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, which Dassey's attorneys Laura Nirider and Robert Drizin pledged to do. However, Judge Duffin overturned the conviction after ruling that investigators in the murder case made promises that "he would not be punished if he admitted participating in the offenses" and that "he had nothing to worry about".

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But dissenting Judge Ilana Rovner, who considered Dassey an "intellectually impaired juvenile" at the time of his questioning, said he was coerced.

The decision to uphold his conviction hinged on whether findings by Wisconsin state courts that Dassey wasn't coerced into confessing were reasonable.

Dassey and Avery's cases gained worldwide attention in December 2015 when Netflix released the first season of the Emmy-winning Making a Murderer. "Unfortunately, this time-worn lesson was ignored today by four judges in the case of Brendan Dassey".

In October, a Wisconsin judge denied Avery's bid for a new trial.

Steven Avery attorney has filed a new motion for appeal.

Court papers also raised the issue of Dassey's IQ, described as being in the "low to borderline" range.

  • Adam Floyd