Netflix's hit documentary series Making a Murderer got viewers up in arms about the possible corruption within the Manitowac County police force, and the topic of whether or not Steven Avery was guilty became a national discussion. The discussion about his nephew, Brendan Dassey, however was much less conflicted.
Viewers were nearly unanimous in the opinion that Dassey was innocent and his confession had been coerced by investigators. As it turns out, a federal appeals panel agrees.
During Dassey's interrogation, investigators can be seen feeding him information and leading him to give the answers they were looking for regarding the murder of Teresa Halbach. Back in August of 2016, a federal magistrate judge ruled in Dasseys' favor, agreeing that his confession to the murder had been coerced and was therefore inadmissible. The judge overturned his conviction, ruling that he should be released or retried, but the Justice Department appealed the verdict, meaning Dassey remained in prison.
Now, we finally have the answer to that appeal. The appeal panel upheld the magistrate's ruling that the confession was coerced, and Dassey will be freed.
The majority opinion by Judges Ilana Rovner cited, "the leading, the fact-feeding, the false promises, the manipulation of Dassey's desire to please" as grounds to invalidate the confession.
Unfortunately, this ruling does not necessarily mean that Dassey will be immediately freed. The state could still appeal to the US Supreme Court, or they could elect to retry Dassey as the original ruling suggested.
But honestly, what are the odds they can find 12 people who've never seen Making a Murder, right? Talk about a biased jury.
Making a Murderer creators Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi are working on a follow-up season to check back in on what's happened to each person involved in the case. New episodes could come as soon as this year.