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U.S. court refuses to free convicted man featured in 'Making a Murderer'

10 December 2017

In 2007 Dassey was sentenced to 41 years in prison after being convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse in relation to the death of Teresa Halbach two years earlier after allegedly telling detectives that he helped his uncle Steven Avery help rape and kill the Wisconsin photographer.

He later recanted his confession.

Brendan Dassey, now 28, is serving a lifetime prison sentence for the 2005 murder of a photographer in Wisconsin. However, Judge Duffin overturned the conviction after ruling that investigators in the murder case made promises that "he would not be punished if he admitted participating in the offenses" and that "he had nothing to worry about".

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Teresa Halbach's remains were found on the Avery property in Wisconsin.

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"His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison", she wrote in her dissent.

However, the dissenting opinion from Chief Judge Diane Wood, who was joined by judges Ilena Rovner and Ann Williams, characterizes the majority's rejection of Dassey's petition for a new trial as a "travesty of justice".

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Dassey's lawyers had argued that their client, then 16, had a learning disability, and that police had coerced him into admitting his involvement in the crime.

The three dissenting judges wrote that the decision was "a profound miscarriage of justice".

The judge pointed out in his ruling that Dassey had a low IQ, was easily coerced and changed his story multiple times, and was without proper legal representation during his police interrogations. Overall, about 12 percent of the wrongful conviction cases they track included a false confession.

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A federal court in Wisconsin previous year found that Dassey, over the course of multiple interviews, had been tricked into confessing - both by police and an unsympathetic private investigator working for his defense attorney. But the state asked for a review by the full 7th Circuit - leading to Friday's decision. "Unfortunately, this time-worn lesson was ignored today by four judges in the case of Brendan Dassey".

U.S. court refuses to free convicted man featured in 'Making a Murderer'