Judge Overturns ‘Making a Murderer’s Brendan Dassey’s Conviction

A Milwaukee federal judge has overturned Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey’s conviction in the murder of Teresa Halbach.

The ruling, which was made by U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin on Friday, stated that Dassey could be released within 90 days unless the state files to retry him.

Related: Netflix Unveils Amanda Knox Documentary

Dassey, now 26, gained fame last year as one of the subjects of Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer, which followed Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery as they were separately tried and convicted of Halbach's murder.

The docuseries showed footage of a then 17-year-old Dassey, whose IQ tested below average, being questioned by authorities without the presence of an adult.

Related: Sarandos Concedes Peak TV Glut, But Sees Netflix Having an Edge

Duffin’s ruling stated:

These repeated false promises [by authorities], when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals’ decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law.

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Brendan Dassey’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus is GRANTED. The respondent shall release Dassey from custody unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceedings to retry him.

Jessika Walsten

Jessika is an analyst for TVREV and Fabric Media. She previously served in various roles at Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV, working with the brands since 2013. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects in the media and entertainment space, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.