In what could be a landmark case, attorneys for Making a Murderer subject Brendan Dassey on Friday filed a motion that he be released on bail pending a decision by the state of Wisconsin to retry him for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.
The filing comes a day after a three-judge panel in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the lower appeals court that the 2006 confession Dassey provided to Wisconsin police was involuntary.
The Seventh Circuit has given the state 90 days to retry Dassey, now 27, or set him free. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel’s office is requesting an en banc review of the ruling, the next step from taking his bid to keep Dassey behind bars to the Supreme Court.
In Friday’s motion, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, who represent Dassey through the Center for Wrongful Conviction of Youth, are requesting that Dassey be immediately released on his own recognizance, due to his standing as a “successful habeas petitioner.”
“Mr. Dassey, now twenty-seven years old, has been held in custody since March 31,2006 – since he was sixteen years old – for a conviction, based almost entirely on an involuntary confession, that has been overturned,” Nirider’s motion reads. “The district court’s ruling has now been affirmed, negating the Respondent’s earlier arguments that it was likely to prevail upon appeal to this Court.”
— Making A Murderer (@MakingAMurderer) September 12, 2016
If the state of Wisconsin decides to retry Dassey, it must do so without the confession he gave to investigators Tom Fassbender and Mark Wiegert during more than three hours of questioning without an attorney or Brendan’s mother present. And while Ken Kratz, who prosecuted Dassey and Steven Avery back in 2007, claims there is significant evidence Brendan was involved in Halbach’s killing, the Seventh Circuit ruled Thursday that the state’s entire case hinged upon the teen’s confession. There was nothing by way of physical evidence linking Dassey to the killing, most notably his DNA on items he mentioned during interrogation.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) June 22, 2017
Dassey was ordered by the lower court to be released last fall, but Schimel’s office was granted a motion to keep him locked up while the state appealed the ruling in the Seventh Circuit. Brendan was scheduled to move to the Crivitz, Wisconsin, area, about 100 miles north of Manitowoc, while he worked with a life coach to transition into a permanent move to Green Bay. Instead, he remains at the Columbia Correctional Institution in the town of Portage.
A decision on Nirider’s motion for bail is expected by 5 p.m., Monday, June 26.
Meanwhile, Chicago post-conviction lawyer Kathleen Zellner is awaiting a response to a 1,200-page motion for a new trial or Steven Avery’s immediate release. She is claiming Avery’s civil rights were also violated by the state because exculpatory evidence pointed to a third-party suspect, Halbach’s ex-boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas. Zellner also claims Kratz destroyed or withheld a CD containing voicemail that proved Steven Avery’s trailer was not the last place Halbach visited on October 31, 2005.
[Featured Image by Sue Pischke/AP Images]