Although Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction was overturned last week, it’s likely that he’ll remain in prison, at least another few years or so, according to case experts.
People reports that Dassey, 26, was just 16 when he was convicted of murdering 25-year-old freelance photographer Teresa Halbach. The manner in which detectives interrogated the then-teen, coupled with what Wisconsin federal Judge William Duffin called “misconduct” by Dassey’s first attorney, Len Kachinsky, was enough to get his conviction overturned.
Yet, according to legal experts who’re familiar with the case, the Wisconsin attorney general will probably appeal Duffin’s decision, which could mean Dassey may end up staying in prison until the seventh circuit court can get to his case, which could take up to three years. The following is according to Minnesota defense attorney, Joe Friedberg.
“I think the attorney general of Wisconsin will appeal Friday’s decision because the supreme court of Wisconsin affirmed the verdict with pretty much the same facts in front of it. I think the attorney general will feel compelled to defend the supreme court’s decision. If they appeal to the seventh circuit, my recollection is the seventh circuit is overwhelmed with cases, so it would take a long time for their decision to come out.”
Post-conviction relief attorney, Erica Sutton, agrees. The D.C.-based lawyer told People that although she thinks an appeal is on the way, she would be “shocked” if Duffin’s decision is reversed, since the state of Wisconsin “doesn’t have much of a case” against Dassey.
Another legal expert, Julius Kim, a former assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, also agrees. He indicated that if the appellate happened to agree with the appeal, Dassey would remain in prison without the benefit of getting another trial.
“If the appellate court rules in their favor, then the conviction stands. That would be the easiest way to handle this. Why go through the hassle, the cost, and the risk of trying this case again? The court of appeals could reverse the federal judge’s decision.”
The most likely scenario, however, according to Kim, is that Dassey will be offered a “last minute deal.”
“In the end, if they wanted to pursue the case, they could always offer Dassey a last-minute deal. I think it is possible that they’ll offer him a deal he couldn’t refuse, like time served in exchange for a conviction.”
Meanwhile, although most people following Dassey’s case are excited that his conviction was overturned, Nancy Grace isn’t too thrilled with Duffin’s decision. The Wrap reports that the outspoken talk show host not only thinks that Dassey is guilty, but she also felt that detectives did nothing wrong when interrogating Dassey in 2005.
“I say nothing was wrong [with the interrogation].”
Despite the fact that Dassey was a minor without the presence of an attorney or parent when interrogated, Grace felt that the detectives were simply doing their jobs and that the teen had ample opportunities to remain silent, but chose not to.
“He’s 16 years old. He was repeatedly told he had the right to have a lawyer. His mother is waiting in the next room. She was asked to come in. She chose not to come in. His lawyer knows he’s there and sent a representative from the law firm … he was repeatedly told he had the right to remain silent and he could have a lawyer with him.”
Criminal defense attorney David Bruno, a guest on Grace’s show, explained that detectives made false promises to Dassey while feeding him the answers they wanted to hear from him. Regardless, Grace stood firm in her decision.
Brendan Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, both remain behind bars. Avery is hoping his conviction will be the next to be overturned. His attorney, Kathleen Zellner, is scheduled to provide evidence to the court this month on Avery’s behalf.
[Photo by Netflix]