Originally published August 15, 2016 After Brendan Dassey’s conviction was overturned by a federal magistrate judge Friday, Action 2 News has been working to find out what’s next for Dassey.
Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted of the 2005 murder of freelance photographer Teresa Halbach.
Ten years after the conviction, a judge ruled Dassey’s confession should not have been admissable at his trial.
He said a combination of investigators making false promises and using leading questions, combined with Dassey’s age, intellectual disabilities, and lack of a supportive adult in the room, led Dassey to give an involuntary confession.
The judge’s ruling Friday means Dassey could walk out of prison a free man.
“If the state does nothing he’ll walk after 90 days. I doubt they’ll do nothing,” said attorney Avi Berk.
That’s just one of the options the state is facing.
“The state can decide to try him again in state court and they have to make that decision within 90 days,” Berk said. “The state can also appeal this federal court decision to the federal appellate court, the 7th district court of appeals in Chicago.”
Berk, who followed the Halbach murder trials closely, said he believed that’s the state’s best option given the evidence they have to work with.
“There was very little evidence against him other than his confession so if the state tries again to retry him, I think it’s going to be a long, tough battle,” said Berk.
Action 2 News asked Berk about Dassey’s options while the state considers how to move forward.
He said despite the conviction being overturned, it’s unlikely any court would release him on bond while any further proceedings are pending because of the nature of the charges.
As the state debates its next move, Berk said it could still consider letting Dassey walk.
“He has served, I believe, 10 years, so it’s possible the state could say at least he served some time in prison for what we think he did,” said Berk.