Appeals court: No immediate release for Brendan Dassey
MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin inmate featured in the hit Netflix series “Making a Murderer” lost another bid Wednesday to get out of prison while state attorneys fight a ruling overturning his conviction.
A three-judge panel from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Brendan Dassey must stay behind bars for now. The panel’s brief order gave no explanation.
Dassey, now 27, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach two years earlier. He told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach in the Avery family’s junk yard in Manitowoc County.
A federal magistrate judge overturned his conviction in August, ruling that detectives took advantage of Dassey’s age — then 16 — and cognitive disabilities to coerce the confession. Dassey’s attorneys asked that he immediately be released from prison, but state attorneys insisted he be kept behind bars while they appealed. The appeals court sided with prosecutors at the time.
Last week, the three-judge appeals court panel upheld the magistrate’s ruling and ordered that Dassey be released from prison unless the state decided within 90 days to retry him.
Dassey’s attorneys quickly filed new paperwork seeking his immediate release. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel asked that Dassey be kept behind bars, saying the state would seek review by the full 7th Circuit. The three-judge court panel sided with Schimel on Wednesday.
Dassey’s attorney, Steven Drizin, didn’t immediately return voicemail messages Wednesday afternoon seeking comment on the decision.
Avery was sentenced to life in prison in a separate trial. He’s pursuing his own appeal in state court.
Both men contend police framed them because they were angry with Avery for filing a lawsuit against Manitowoc County over his wrongful imprisonment for a sexual assault he didn’t commit.
Their cases gained national attention in 2015 after Netflix aired “Making a Murderer,” a multi-part documentary examining Halbach’s death. The series spawned widespread conjecture about the pair’s innocence and generated calls from the public to free them. Both men have amassed thousands of fans on social media.
Authorities who worked on the cases said the documentary was biased.