Brendan Dassey from “Making a Murderer” Told To Remain Silent

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Brendan Dassey’s conviction was recently overturned. But Dassey, from the documentary series “Making a Murderer,” and his family were told to remain silent ahead of the new season of the show. The producers don’t want to risk information getting out beforehand, but also don’t want to risk Dassey’s release from prison in any way. His family and supporters are afraid he might have to spend several more years behind bars in case the state appeals the verdict and want him to keep a low profile. According to Express Online, his lawyers worry that the state will appeal and keep Dassey in jail during the whole process.

After the show aired, a lot of people became outraged over the seemingly unconstitutional way the case was handled. Many signed different petitions to free Steven Avery and Dassey and started campaigning for their exoneration. According to one of the most active campaigners, Shaun Attwood, the state and the original prosecutor will do everything they can to keep Brendan Dassey behind bars. He said:

This is not only a groundbreaking case in terms of the way it was handled but in the way the justice system is playing out. This is the first time a documentary like this has been able to expose major failings in the justice system.

He added, “The last thing they want is to destroy all of the hard work they’ve done by talking about it publicly.”

The series “Making a Murderer” that depicted the conviction of Dassey and his uncle, Avery, for the rape and murder of Teresa Halbach in October 2005 became incredibly popular last year. Many viewers believed it was clear early on that police officers persuaded Dassey, then only 16, to confess in exchange for prosecutorial leniency. The series showed how they basically put words in Dassey’s mouth during the interrogation and a passive Dassey afterwards asked if he could go back to class, not realizing the gravity of what he had just admitted to.

On Friday, Dassey’s murder conviction was overturned after a U.S. federal court found his interrogation to be unconstitutional. After spending over 10 years in prison he and his family, as well as outside supporters who learned about the case through the TV show, were jubilant.

But reactions have been mixed. TV anchor Nancy Grace, who originally covered the story, aired her anger and disgust with the verdict in an interview with a lawyer and the original prosecutor in the case. Grace stated that she still believes Dassey is guilty and that his conviction should stand. She also claimed that Dassey’s IQ of 70 is completely normal even though experts have called it “extremely low.”

Teresa Halbach’s former teacher told People that she was shocked to hear about Dassey’s overturned conviction. She said, “Everyone feels for Teresa […] She is the victim here.” She said she doesn’t think a TV show should be able to overturn things and that “they were tried and they were convicted, and end of story.”

At the same time, Steven Avery’s former lawyers Dean Strang and Jerry Buting were very pleased with the outcome. They said in a statement obtained by People:

Brendan’s statements were not only involuntary, they were completely contradicted by the lack of physical evidence. This shows the folly of coercing a statement from a vulnerable target. It also vindicates what we have said for years: that law enforcement in the Teresa Halbach investigation was willing to go to extreme lengths to convict Steven Avery, the only person they seriously considered to be a suspect.

State prosecutors now have 90 days to decide whether to appeal the verdict or release Brendan Dassey. Avery’s case is unchanged for now.

Emma Von Zeipel
Emma Von Zeipel is a staff writer at Law Street Media. She is originally from one of the islands of Stockholm, Sweden. After working for Democratic Voice of Burma in Thailand, she ended up in New York City. She has a BA in journalism from Stockholm University and is passionate about human rights, good books, horses, and European chocolate. Contact Emma at EVonZeipel@LawStreetMedia.com.



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