JUSTICE

‘Making a Murderer’ Conviction Overturned

A federal judge has overturned the murder conviction for Brendan Dassey, who was convicted in the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach that was the subject of the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. Prosecutors now have 90 days to decide whether or not to retry Dassey; if they do not, he will be freed from prison immediately. In overturning Dassey's conviction, the judge cited the controversial interrogation tactics used against Dassey. According to the judge, investigators repeatedly made false promises and did not provide an adult counsel to Dassey, who was then 17 and had a learning disability. Dassey's confession during this investigation was involuntary, the judge said.

"Although it probably does not need to be stated, it will be: Kachinsky's conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically," the judge wrote of defense attorney Len Kachinsky who encouraged Dassey to confess. "It is one thing for an attorney to point out to a client how deep of a hole the client is in. But to assist the prosecution in digging that hole deeper is an affront to the principles of justice that underlie a defense attorney's vital role in the adversarial system. That said, Dassey's attempt to characterize Kachinsky's misconduct as a conflict of interest under Sullivan is misplaced."