On August 12, a federal judge threw out the conviction of Making A Murderer subject Brendan Dassey, arguing in a 91-page decision that Massey’s constitutional rights had been violated by police when they coerced him into making a false confession. The document ended with an order to release Dassey within 90 days, barring an appeal or retrial.
Federal guidelines gave the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office 30 days from the judge’s decision to appeal, and with that deadline coming up on Monday, September 12, some were starting to hope that the state might not fight the decision to free Dassey. But this afternoon a notice was filed declaring that the state would indeed appeal.
There’s no word on how long it will take for the appeal to wind its way through the courts. Based on the speed everything else has gone at, this could result in another year or more in jail for Dassey. There’s no guarantee that another judge will agree with the first judge’s decision to throw the conviction out, either. In order for habeus corpus relief to be granted, “a state court’s decision must be not merely wrong but so wrong that no reasonable judge could have reached that decision.”
The judge that threw Dassey’s conviction out obviously felt it met that high standard. In his lengthy decision, he wrote: “While the circumstances for relief may be rare, even extraordinary, it is the conclusion of the court that this case represents the sort of ‘extreme malfunction in the state criminal justice system’ that federal habeas corpus relief exists to correct.”
Now we’ll have to wait and see if another federal judge agrees.