Originally published August 12, 2016 NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (WBAY) – A former defense attorney for Brendan Dassey says he was initially surprised when he found out a federal court overturned his former client’s conviction.
Len Kachinsky represented Dassey when he was convicted in the 2005 murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County. Dassey’s uncle, Steven Avery, was also convicted. Avery is currently appealing his own case.
The main reason why U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin ruled Friday to overturn the conviction was because of Dassey’s confession to raping and murdering Halbach. Duffin ruled the confession was involuntary because investigators made false promises to him, telling him he had nothing to worry about, and because of his young age and intellectual difficulties.
Kachinsky said he was pleased with the ruling once he found out why it was made.
“In the sense that that was an instance that I preserved for appeal, before I was off the case, I was in sense gratified because the fact that that was the basis for magistrate judge Duffin’s decision, it shows that I did my job,” Kachinsky said.
The ruling Friday also had to consider whether Dassey had ineffective lawyers, but the court did not find that to be the case.
Kachinsky said he tried to keep Dassey’s confession out of evidence during the trial.
“Without a confession, the state didn’t really have anything of a case,” Kachinsky said. “It was an issue that was clearly available to appeal.”
Kachinsky is no longer in contact with Dassey’s family, but he’s happy about the decision.
He expects an appeal to be filed.