Brendan Dassey filing for clemency after 13 years in prison

The legal team for Brendan Dassey, one of the convicted killers at the center of the popular Netflix docuseries “Making a Murderer,” is petitioning the governor of Wisconsin to grant him clemency. When Dassey was 16 years old, he confessed to helping his uncle kill photographer Teresa Halbach. Now 29, he has served more than 13 years in prison. But critics and his lawyers claim he was coerced into a false confession.

Dassey’s legal options have been exhausted. But now, his attorney Laura Nirider is turning to Wisconsin’s new Democratic governor, Tony Evers. “We’re filing a petition for executive clemency with Governor Tony Evers of Wisconsin,” Nirider told “CBS This Morning” co-host Anthony Mason. 


Supreme Court declines to hear case of “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday it won’t weigh in on the case of a teenager convicted of rape and murder whose story was documented in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer.” As is typical, the justices did not explain their decision declining to take the case. The justices’ decision leaves in place a lower court ruling against Brendan Dassey.

Dassey was 16 years old when he confessed to Wisconsin authorities that he had joined his uncle in raping and murdering photographer Teresa Halbach before burning her body in a bonfire. Dassey’s attorneys, however, say he’s borderline intellectually disabled and was pressured into a false confession. They wanted his confession thrown out and a new trial.

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“Brendan won!” Appeals court affirms decision by judge to overturn Dassey’s conviction

Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey

CHICAGO — The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, June 22nd 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.”

Duffin on November 14th ordered the release of Dassey, ruling he be freed under the supervision of the US Probation Office after overturning his confession in August — saying investigators coerced Dassey, who was 16 at the time, and suffered from cognitive problems, into confessing.

The state appealed that ruling.

Brendan Dassey Oral Arguments at the 7th Circuit of Appeals February 14, 2017

Brendan Dassey

By Jax West

Aimee McGlinchey and I along with our significant others attended the Oral Arguments at the 7th Circuit of Appeals in Chicago on Valentine’s Day, 2017.  I am far from a legal expert and don’t pretend to be.  I took notes of what I saw and heard and will write that up for you here.

When the date was first announced I contacted Steven Drizin and asked him if I could attend and if I could bring paper and pen to write an article on it.  He said I could.  The day prior to the court date I called the court to ask anything special I needed to know about entering the courthouse.  I was told seats are first come first served and that cellphones can come in but have to be turned off.  The courthouse opened at 9am so we planned to get there by 8 am.  My boyfriend bought us a spot in a nearby parking garage so that would be one less worry.

Aimee lives in Michigan so she drove down with her husband the night before after work.  We got up early on Tuesday to leave my house in a Chicago suburb at 6:30 am.  When we got to the courthouse there was a pool of press already stationed on the first floor.  We had to go up to the 27th floor.  We got there and had to wait in line.  I noticed sweaty Ken Kratz 5 people ahead of me in line right away.

Ken Kratz

I started recognizing all the different press people waiting as well.  Then I saw Brendan’s attorney Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin walk past.  They went into a private room.  I talked with the kid in front of me to find out his thoughts on the case.  Turns out he was a law student who nothing of the case.  Had never seen ‘Making a Murderer’.  Just saw the press and decided to come check it out.  Drizin came out of the room and came over to me and pointed out my Justice for Brendan Dassey hoodie I was wearing and he said he knows I think it’s a good thing but asked if I would take it off.  I shook his hand and introduced myself as all my communication with him has been in messages or on the phone.  He said he knows who I am.  He thanked me and then he and Nirider walked away.  I wished Nirider good luck and she thanked me.  I then saw Laura Ricciardi one of the documentarians from MaM in line.

I don’t know if I am just paranoid or what but Kratz kept seeming to be staring at Aimee and I.  I am not kidding when I say he was sweating.  A lot.  All I kept saying was sweaty, sweat, sweat.  I just can’t stop thinking that when I look at that pig.

The courtroom opened and we went in.  We chose to sit on the side of the defense in the back row.  Kratz sat on the guilty side right behind the Halbach family.  I saw both of Teresa’s brothers, her mom and I don’t know what you call him, her uncle or her stepdad.  There were maybe 125 people total in the courtroom.  It wasn’t that big.  There weren’t any other supporters there other than us.  Everyone else seemed to be law students or people who just wanted to come watch a show.

We sat there for a half hour.  Kratz’s young girlfriend kept rubbing his back & seemed to be glaring our way.  That may be my paranoia again.  It was just very odd.  She just kept looking at us.

The 3 judges came in at 9:30am.  Wisconsin Deputy Solicitor Peter Berg got to speak first.  He started reading his prepared speech about Brendan CHOOSING to confess and that the interrogators were just encouraging him to tell the truth and that they didn’t apply any pressure and then U.S. Appellate Court Judge Ilana Rovner interrupted him.  Judge Rovner asked about Brendan’s low IQ and said he was highly suggestible.  Berg said nothing was promised to Brendan as a benefit for his cooperation.  Berg claimed they said that they CAN’T make any promises.  Judge Rovner said Brendan was told the truth would set him free.  Berg said he doesn’t think Brendan thought that meant he would go free.  He said Brendan volunteered the details.  Then Berg started spouting off a lot of numbers.  The microphones were not on, he wasn’t facing me and I am deaf in one ear.  Oh, and me and numbers are not friends.  So I got lost in Berg saying something about Brendan resisted their offers 35 times.  Denied that he shot her or that there was a fire going.  When Brendan was asked about her hair he said he didn’t know.

Judge Rovner said that the interrogator said that he is a father and he wished he could help Brendan.  He said I am not a cop right now.  It was a blatant lie.  Berg said at that time the interrogators only thought Brendan was a witness.  Judge Rovner said that they showed frustration when Brendan didn’t say what they wanted.  Berg said that the interrogators main concern was Brendan telling the truth [Be honest].  They didn’t want him to make things up.  [Be honest]  Judge Rovner said Brendan was particularly suggestible.  She brought up the line of questioning.  Who shot her in the head?  Judge Rovner said that plants information to taint the confession.  Berg said it is an appropriate interview technique.  Judge Rovner said Brendan said they cut her hair and other various things.  Berg said they didn’t know if Teresa Halbach was shot in the bedroom or in the garage until Brendan told them.

Judge Ann Claire Williams asked if Brendan’s age was considered.  Berg said something about the ineffective assistance of counsel and that would be used against Steven.  I kind of got lost in this part as I couldn’t hear.  They kept citing the Sullivan case.  Now I told you I do not know the law at all.  So I see in Nirider’s brief it is Cuyler v. Sullivan.  When I look it up I find:

Brief Fact Summary. Respondent challenges his murder conviction on the grounds that his counsel’s representation of his co-defendants presented an unacceptable conflict of interests that denied him effective assistance of counsel.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Defendants alleging a conflict of interest in cases in which multiple defendants are being represented by the same attorney in the same matter must demonstrate an “actual conflict” that “adversely affected” the outcome.

Judge David Hamilton asked if there was any physical evidence that a rape or a wound to Teresa Halbach’s throat occurred.  Berg said no because the body was burned.  Judge Hamilton said so they only have Brendan’s confession.  Berg said there weren’t any promises of leniency.  Any promises were vague.  Judge Rovner said the police were allowed to induce a confession to get a confesstion.

Judge Rovner asked why was the May 13th interview not introduced to trial.  Was it because of a ruling?  Berg said he wasn’t sure.  [I am sure Kratz was dying to raise his hand like a Sweathog and proclaim he knows the answer]  Judge Rovner said it is unreliable.  Berg said Brendan chose to make that call to the police.  Judge Rovner said they told Brendan that he doesn’t want to be lying to his Mom.

I really thought Judge Rovner was awesome.  She just kept reading from the [coerced] confession.  Berg kept saying it was voluntary.  When put in context to what the Judge is reading. In my opinion Berg just looked ridiculous.

Berg was done at 9:52 am.  Laura Nirider went to the podium.  She began reading her prepared speech.  She said the interrogators told Brendan that they know he is scared he is going to be arrested but they think he will be alright.  They said they already know what happened.  Judge Hamilton interrupts Nirider like Judge Rovner did to Berg.  He asked if there’s another case where the child thought they were going back to school.  Nirider said they told Brendan that it is ok because they already know.

Judge Williams brought up that Sullivan case again.  She asked if the police knew about Brendan’s intellect.  Nirider said they knew he had an IQ of 73.  Brendan was in a special ed support system.  She said they knew his age.  Nirider said it isn’t relevant if they knew his IQ.  It was their suggestions.  They repeated it like a drum beat.

Judge Hamilton said Brendan did hear his Miranda Rights and was told they can’t make any promises.  Nirider said that Len Kachinsky did not turn over evidence of the video that Michael O’Kelly did so the Defense didn’t know the pressures they put on him on May 12th.  They don’t just say that everything is going to be ok.  They say they know he’s scared of arrest but he’s ok.  Nirider said that’s enough for a 16-year-old developmentally challenged boy to think he will be going back to school.

Judge Hamilton asked who was the source about him cutting Teresa’s throar after she was raped?  He said that it was either known from memory or it was made up.  He said it was contradictory.  It comes out slowly but was Brendan’s free will.  Nirider said they let him embellish til he got to their plot point.  They gave Brendan false promises of leniency.  They gave him each step and then allowed him to tell their story.  They said Teresa Halbach was shackled to a wooden headboard yet there were no marks on it.  Brendan was just trying to guess how Teresa was killed.  There’s not a trace of forensic evidence of Teresa Halbach or Brendan being in that trailer.

Judge Rovner brought up the closing arguments in Brendan’s case when Kratz said that an innocent person would not confess but they know many who have.  Nirider said that false confessions happen all the time.  She cited the Central Park 5.  Nirider said they now use Brendan’s interrogation to teach what NOT to do.  Was there any physical evidence linking Brendan to a murder?  No.  They led him to say that the shooting happened in the garage because of the bullet they found.  When Brendan was first asked where she was shot he said by the fire.  Nirider said the investigators provided Brendan the answers they wanted him to say like that Teresa’s electronics were in the burning barrel.  Nirider was done speaking at 10:14 am.

Berg got a chance to speak one more time.  He again says that nothing said to Brendan was a promise.  Berg claimed Brendan got specific warnings.  Berg said these were Brendan’s memories of Teresa Halbach.  None of this was suggested.  Brendan is the one who said he heard Teresa screaming and saw her chained to the bed.  He saw her crying.  That there was an awful smell when her body was burning.  Berg said Brendan said all that voluntarily.  He was done speaking at 10:18am.

Judge Rovner said that both sides were very well briefed and it will be taken under advisement.  That was the end of the hearing.  What is my take away from this?  I always stay positive in both Brendan and Steven’s cases.  My heart and my head both say that this went very well for Brendan.  Nirider is so impressive.  I have complete faith in her.  The judges can take 6-9 months before they rule so we are back to waiting.  As soon as I hear of a decision it will be posted immediately.  Until then, please think happy thoughts for Brendan and his Mom and Dad.  That boy needs to go home to his parents and get to just chill out playing video games for hours.

#FreeBrendan #MakingAMurderer #WeAllLiveOnAveryRoad #NeverGiveUp

Brendan Dassey’s Conviction Has Been Overturned


Brendan Dassey, Steven Avery’s nephew, was sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 41 years after he was convicted in 2007 of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse in the killing of Halbach in Manitowoc County.

Read the court ruling

The federal ruling says the state has 90 days to appeal the federal order or Dassey must be released from prison. He is being held at Columbia Correctional Institution.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin said “misconduct” by Dassey’s lawyer, Len Kachinsky, in defending Dassey was “indefensible.”

The court ruled Dassey’s confession was “involuntary” and was based on “false promises” by interrogators, “Dassey’s age and intellectual deficits.”

Avery remains convicted of murder, but continues to appeal that conviction.

WISN 12 News contacted the state Attorney General’s Office for reaction and received this comment, “As we are currently reviewing Magistrate Judge Duffin’s order, we have no comment to offer at this time.”

The case was recently brought into the spotlight in the documentary, “Making a Murderer.”

Brendan Dassey’s Mother Asks For Legislation To Protect Minors During Interrogations

Brendan Dassey

Brendan Dassey’s mother, Barbara Tydych, has launched a new petition asking the state of Wisconsin to pass legislation designed to protect juveniles during interrogations. In her petition, titled: “Please Pass Juvenile Interrogation Protection Law in Wisconsin”, Barbara details why her son’s case highlights the need for legislation requiring that an attorney be present during a custodial interrogation of a minor.

Brendan Dassey was wrongfully convicted of murder in the state of Wisconsin in 2007, on the basis of a coerced false confession to the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach. No other evidence supports his conviction, and physical evidence flatly contradicts the statements in which he incriminated himself.

The Netflix series “Making a Murderer” has brought renewed attention to Brendan’s case. The 10-part documentary details the murder of Teresa Halbach and the controversy surrounding her death. Video clips of Brendan’s interrogation, which are presented in the documentary, have left many viewers wondering how Brendan’s confession was ever deemed admissible at trial.

Audio and video recordings show how interrogators adopted a friendly, solicitous manner and quickly brought Brendan under their control. Video footage shows that Brendan was willing to go along with any story line they suggested, but he volunteered almost no information other than reciting back what his interrogators were feeding him. Two seasoned interrogators went to work on a 16-year-old kid and they got to his head. What they didn’t get was the truth.

The information acquired during Brendan’s interrogation was completely unreliable. Brendan recanted his confession the moment he was out of reach of his interrogators.

Wisconsin law currently fails people like Brendan, as it only requires law enforcement to immediately attempt to notify the child’s parent or guardian. The current law does not specify whether juveniles have the right to the presence of an attorney or a parent during questioning.

Thankfully, in 2005, the Wisconsin Supreme Court exercised its supervisory power to require that all custodial interrogations of juveniles be recorded. The recording of Brendan Dassey’s interrogation provides a clear cut example of why new legislation is desperately needed.

The State of Wisconsin made a promising move in the right direction by recognizing the need for recorded interrogations. Now they need to further those efforts by enacting the Juvenile Interrogation Protection law. Such legislation will not only work to protect the rights of juveniles; it will also help law enforcement to be sure that they are acquiring reliable information from their interrogations.

Please show the citizens of Wisconsin that you are in favor of new legislation to protect juveniles, by encouraging legislators to enact the Juvenile Interrogation Protection law. Please read and sign this important petition. You can view the petition here:


What Steven Avery’s former neighbor witnessed Avery’s former neighbor said he saw things around the time of Teresa Halbach’s murder that raise a lot of questions – and no one has asked him about it before.

The recent Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer has made international headlines and raised many questions surrounding the 2005 murder of Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wi. and the subsequent trial that convicted Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey in crimes related to murder.

One of the key pieces of evidence in the case was Halbach’s blue/green Toyota Rav4 discovered by a volunteer search party in the rear area of Avery Auto Salvage on November 5th, 2005.

On the southeast side of the Avery Auto Salvage, off Jambo Creek road directly beside the entrance to the quarry behind the yard lives Wilmer Siebert, a man in his 70s who considers himself friends with the Averys.

Siebert said he saw what he thinks might be Halbach’s Toyota Rav4 accompanied by another vehicle, a mysterious white Jeep, “days” before the search party found the Rav4 on the salvage yard. Read more >>

Making Many Murderers: How America Ignores Criminal Justice


Making A Murderer should terrify you.

The story of Steven Avery — sent to prison for 18 years for a rape he didn’t commit, following an investigation so shoddy you’d be forgiven for thinking sheriff’s deputies in Manitowoc County, Wis. railroaded him; then exonerated and released thanks to DNA evidence, before he was again arrested, convicted, and sent to prison two years later, this time for life, following an even more questionable murder investigation — is illuminating and outrageous, and helps explain why the 10-part documentary about his trials became a sensation.

But scarier still than a criminal justice system with investigators who, without lawyers present, can coerce a mentally infirm 15-year-old boy into a false confession — as sheriff’s investigators from the same Manitowoc County did with Avery’s cousin, Brendan Dassey — is how many more Steve Averys are in the world, and how close the story came to not being told at all. Read more >>

The inside story of the 10-year struggle to get Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ on your screen


In 2005, when Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos began the documentary project that would eventually become Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” they thought they were making a feature length documentary film.

They weren’t.

Over a decade after the start of production, “Making a Murderer” was released by Netflix as a 10-part series. It sparked a far-reaching and passionate discussion about the criminal justice system in the US. Read more >>

DOC emails show concern for Avery & Dassey’s safety

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NBC26 has obtained nearly 2,000 pages of emails from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections that show there were concerns for Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s safety in prison following the national attention from the Making a Murderer documentary on Netflix.
Avery and Dassey were convicted of the 2005 murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach.
In the D.O.C. emails, they questioned whether Avery felt safe behind bars and if Dassey should be moved to another prison. Eventually, Dassey was transferred to another facility due to what officials called “operational purposes.” Read more >>