‘Making A Murderer:’ ‘Brendan Dassey’s Law’ Needs Your Attention
The conviction of Brendan Dassey, nephew of Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery, has prompted members of the public to call for Wisconsin legislators to pass a law that prevents police from interrogating minors without the presence of a lawyer.Advertisement
A change.org petition is asking people to call for the state of Wisconsin to enact the “Brendan Dassey’s Law,” which the website says will avoid other minors like Dassey to suffer the same fate.
At the time of his conviction, the then lawyer of 16-year-old Dassey, Len Kachinsky, allowed his client to be interrogated by two detectives in his absence, wherein he said he was involved in the 2005 killing of the 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
Allegedly, Dassey was wrongfully convicted on the basis of a coerced false confession for the crime. There is no other proof to support the claim that Dassey was involved in the crime. Moreover, the physical evidence discovered seems to contradict his confession.
A 16-year-old teen at the time of his confession, his IQ was about 70. Furthermore, Dassey did not have a criminal record. According to the change.org petition, “Police initially turned their attention to him because he was a defense witness for another man (Steven Avery) whom they had accused of murdering Halbach.”
Tennessee and Minnesota have bills that do not allow questioning of minors in the absence of their lawyers, as reported by Green Bay Press Gazette.
The petition states that the safeguards imposed as part of the Brendan Dassey’s Law should include the requirement of the presence of an attorney during any custodial interrogation of a minor, which the website notes “should be viewed as a nonwaivable right”; and that law enforcement should let the minor know prior to their interrogation that they could be charged as an adult on the basis of the information they offer during questioning.
According to the website of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered in 2005 the recording of all custodial interrogations in juvenile.
Meanwhile, Dassey’s case is being watched closely by filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. Speaking with Radio Times, Ricciardi said, “The issues they’ve raised have to do with whether or not Brendan’s federal constitutional rights were violated. It’s a very different venue now.”
“Honestly, we’re on the edge of our seats. Any day there could be a decision from this one magistrate about Brendan’s fate,” Demos added.