Making A Murderer subject Brendan Dassey won’t be going home any time soon. The news came last night as the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the Wisconsin Attorney General’s emergency motion to stay his release. The three judge panel granted the stay, and now Brendan Dassey will remain in prison while the Seventh Circuit considers the state’s full appeal of the earlier ruling that tossed Brendan’s confession. No reasoning was included in the filing denying Dassey’s release.
It’s the end of a roller coaster of a week that saw a judge deny the state’s original appeal and order Brendan Dassey freed by Friday at 8pm. Attorney General Brad Schimel filed another appeal with the Seventh Circuit along with an emergency motion to keep Dassey in prison, but it was a toss up as to whether the court would hear the case in time, or at all. The state’s original appeal of Brendan’s overturned conviction was denied in harsh terms, with the judge chastising the attorney general for offering up the same arguments and no new evidence as to why Dassey should remain in jail.
At the heart of Dassey’s overturned conviction is the judge’s opinion that the 16-year -old’s confession was coerced, and that the state had no other compelling evidence tying him to the crimes he was found guilty of with the confession thrown out. And while the judge may be right on a common sense level — anyone who has watched the confession can see the detectives fabricating Dassey’s statements — the state argues that much worse confessions have been upheld as legitimate, so why not this one too? It’s a messed up argument, but unfortunately terrible precedents often hold tons of sway when it comes to the rulings of judges.
All hope is not lost for Dassey, though. His lawyers Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin are hard at work preparing their arguments for the Seventh Circuit appeal, and Laura Nirider literally wrote the book (the actual book law students read) on wrongful convictions and juvenile justice. Just last week, Drizin stated Nirider’s appeal was a work of art, so it could lay bear the unjustness of Dassey’s conviction and how the state of Wisconsin continues to punish him despite having no real evidence he had anything to do with the death of Teresa Halbach.