"Making A Murderer": Dassey's attorneys ask for his release from prison

CHICAGO, Ill. (WBAY) - Attorneys for "Making A Murderer" subject Brendan Dassey have filed a motion asking for their client's immediate release from prison.

The motion was filed Friday with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, one day after a three-judge panel upheld a lower court's ruling overturning Dassey's conviction for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County.

In the motion, attorneys Laura Nirider and Steve Drizin ask the court to lift a stay that's blocking Dassey's release from prison.

"Mr. Dassey, now twenty-seven years old, has been held in custody since March 31, 2006 - since he was sixteen years old - for a conviction, based almost entirely on an involuntary confession, that has been overturned," reads the motion.

Judge William Duffin, who initially overturned Dassey's conviction and ordered his release from prison, issued the stay on request from the Wisconsin Department of Justice to allow the agency time to appeal.

On Thursday, the appeals court released a 2-1 decision siding with Dassey that his confession to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill Halbach on Halloween 2005 was coerced by Manitowoc County investigators.

Nirider and Drizin request that Dassey be released on bond.

"There is no longer any reason to further stay the district court's order releasing Mr. Dassey," reads the motion.

Click here to read the motion filed by Dassey's attorneys.

The order asks the state to file a response by 5 p.m. on June 26. Once it has heard from both sides, the court will make a decision on Dassey's release. It could happen as early as next week.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice has up to three months to decide whether to re-try Dassey for Halbach's murder. The state also has the option of asking the full 7th Circuit Court to review the case, or taking it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"We anticipate seeking review by the entire 7th Circuit or the United States Supreme Court and hope that today’s erroneous decision will be reversed. We continue to send our condolences to the Halbach family as they have to suffer through another attempt by Mr. Dassey to re-litigate his guilty verdict and sentence," reads a statement provided by the DOJ.

Two federal courts have now ruled that Dassey's confession to Halbach's murder was involuntary, differing from decisions in the state courts.

The federal appeals court's majority opinion states that Dassey's intellectual limitations and suggestibility must be taken into account, and the investigators gave him false promises of leniency.

"Dassey's interview could be viewed in a psychology class as a perfect example of operant conditioning," reads the majority opinion.

"In sum, the investigators promised Dassey freedom and alliance if he told the truth and all signs suggest that Dassey took that promise literally. The pattern of questions demonstrates that the message the investigators conveyed is that the 'truth' was what they wanted to hear."

Click here to view the 128-page opinion from the federal court of appeals.

Steven Avery's attorney visited her client Friday at Waupun Correctional Institution. Kathleen Zellner tells Action 2 News that Avery is optimistic about his own case.

"He's extremely optimistic because when someone's innocent, and I've done this many times, they always are optimistic I think he feels we have the evidence now to vacate the conviction. which we will do, and so he's very optimistic," Zellner said.

Zellner has filed a post-conviction motion arguing Avery should be granted a new trial based on five arguments, including ineffective defense counsel, ethical violations by the prosecutor, and new evidence. Zellner's motion breaks down new scientific testing she had completed on evidence on the theory Avery's DNA was planted.

Click here to view our exclusive interview with Kathleen Zellner.

We welcome comments and civil discussions. powered by Disqus