Dassey's legal team asks U.S. Supreme Court to hear appeal

Published: Feb. 20, 2018 at 1:16 PM CST
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Brendan Dassey's legal team has officially asked the United States Supreme Court to hear Dassey's appeal.

Attorneys filed a writ of certiorari Tuesday. That means the attorneys have petitioned the high court to review the decision of another court.

Dassey is appealing his 2007 conviction for the murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County. He was sentenced to life in prison for 1st Degree Intentional Homicide.

At issue is Dassey's confession and whether or not it was coerced. Dassey was 16 at the time of the killing, and his defense argues his low IQ made him susceptible to making an involuntary confession. The confession was a big part of the prosecution's case against Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery.

“Too many courts around the country, for many years, have been misapplying or even ignoring the Supreme Court’s instructions that confessions from mentally impaired kids like Brendan Dassey must be examined with the greatest care -- and that interrogation tactics which may not be coercive when applied to an adult can overwhelm children and the mentally impaired,” said Dassey attorney Steven Drizin. “Meanwhile, DNA evidence has uncovered dozens of cases involving false confessions from children. The time is now for the Court to reaffirm this country’s commitment to protecting kids in the interrogation room.”

Dassey is represented by Drizin and Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. The team has been joined by former United States Solicitor General Seth Waxman. Waxman has argued 80 cases before the United States Supreme Court.

Drizin tweeted Tuesday that some of the "best and brightest lawyers in the country" will be filing briefs on behalf of Brendan Dassey.

Dassey's legal team says if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, it will be the first juvenile confession case of its kind to go before the high court in nearly 40 years.

Dassey's team wants the Supreme Court to review a decision by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld Dassey's conviction.

In a 4-3 ruling,

That decision overturned a federal judge's ruling that investigators used coercive tactics to get a confession out of Dassey. U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin had ruled that repeated false promises by detectives, when considered with other factors like Dassey's age, intellectual deficits and the absence of a supportive adult, led him to determine that Dassey's confession was involuntary under the U.S. Constitution.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice tells Action 2 News that it agrees with the appeals court's decision. The DOJ will have 30 days to file a response once the Supreme Court dockets the Dassey team's petition.

The appeals process will be featured in the sequel to the Netflix series "Making A Murderer." The first series documented the trials of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.

Avery is also fighting his conviction. Avery's attorney Kathleen Zellner says

The case remains in the appeals process.