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Wisconsin attorney general plans to block Brendan Dassey’s release from jail

Click to play video: 'Brendan Dassey of ‘Making a Murderer’ ordered released from prison pending appeal' Brendan Dassey of ‘Making a Murderer’ ordered released from prison pending appeal
WATCH: Brendan Dassey ordered released from prison, pending appeal – Nov 15, 2016

Brendan Dassey of Making a Murderer is close to vindication after U.S. District Judge William Duffin ordered his release from prison on Monday, under supervision, pending an expected appeal.

Brad Schimel, Wisconsin’s attorney general, quickly moved to block the release, saying he’s going to file an emergency motion asking for a federal appeals court to stay Dassey’s release order. (He filed the September appeal, below, after Dassey’s conviction was overturned.)

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READ MORE: Steven Avery appeal delayed 3 months, his lawyer asks for more time

Duffin overturned Dassey’s sentence in mid-August of this year, saying the nephew of MoM subject Steven Avery gave a coerced (and thus compromised) confession.

Dassey was originally convicted in 2007 of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse and second-degree sexual assault in the killing of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisc., and was sentenced to life with no parole for 41 years. He was only 17 years old at the time.

He was a mere 16 when Halbach was killed in 2005 after she went to the Avery family auto salvage yard to photograph some vehicles.

 

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Dassey confessed to helping Avery carry out the rape and murder of Halbach, but lawyers argued that the confession was coerced.

Netflix’s Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary series that follows the case of Wisconsin natives Avery and Dassey. Avery is currently serving a life sentence (without the possibility for parole) for Halbach’s murder and illegally possessing a firearm. Avery, who had previously been jailed for 18 years for a sexual assault in 1985, was exonerated in that case by DNA evidence in 2003.

READ MORE: Steven Avery’s lawyer: We have a new suspect in Teresa Halbach murder

Two years later, Avery brought a US$36-million lawsuit against Manitowoc County for the wrongful conviction. The documentary series calls into question the investigation and trial that put Avery and Dassey behind bars, and alleges the investigators and police in the case planted evidence and otherwise manipulated the outcome of the trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin wrote in his decision:

“The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on Oct. 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about. These repeated false promises, 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.”

Dassey’s legal team is hoping to get him out of prison soon, said one of his lawyers, Steven Drizin: “We are very hopeful we will have Brendan home by Thanksgiving [Nov. 24], if not sooner,” Drizin said.
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READ MORE: Timeline of events in the case of Brendan Dassey of Making a Murderer

Duffin outlined restrictions for Dassey should he be fully released from prison. If there is any violation of the rules, Dassey would return to prison pending the appeal proceedings. The conditions are:

  • He cannot violate any law
  • He must appear for court dates
  • He must register as a sex offender
  • He must admit probation officers to his new home as necessary
  • He cannot have any contact with the Halbach or Avery families

The U.S. Probation Office would supervise Dassey under Duffin’s order. The judge said:

“Dassey’s family is concentrated in northeastern Wisconsin. There is no indication that he has the inclination much less the means to flee or will otherwise fail to appear as may be legally required. Moreover, Dassey has a strong interest not to flee … Dassey has offered a detailed release plan that was prepared with the assistance of a clinical social worker with experience in similar cases. That social worker would remain involved in assisting Dassey as he adjusts to freedom following his decade in prison.”
The judge also ordered that Dassey disclose where he would be living, but that information is being kept from the public for his own safety.“In order to protect the privacy and safety needs of Brendan and his family, the proposed release plan does not include specific addresses for the proposed release locations,” his lawyers wrote in their motion. “Counsel will immediately provide this information, along with photographs of the proposed release locations’ exteriors and interiors, to this Court upon request.”WATCH BELOW: The latest on Dassey, Avery and Making a Murderer

Dassey’s uncle, Avery, remains convicted of murder, but continues to challenge that conviction from prison. It’s not immediately clear if Dassey’s impending release will have any impact on Avery’s case.

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State Department of Corrections officials said they are currently reviewing Duffin’s order and waiting for the motion to be filed by Schimel. Dassey remains behind bars at Columbia Correctional Institution.

— With files from Rebecca Joseph and Tania Kohut

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