Brendan Dassey, nephew of Steven Avery and subject of Netflix’s Making a Murderer, whose conviction was found to be unlawful on Friday by a federal judge, could sue police and his lawyer for millions of dollars.
On Friday, Federal Judge William E. Duffin found the then 16-year-old Dassey was mentally unfit and manipulated when he was interrogated by the police. Dassey was convicted in 2007 and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for acting as his uncle’s accomplice in the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
Making a Murderer: Brendan Dassey’s imprisonment was unlawful, judge says
As reported by The Wrap, Judge Duffin said Dassey’s conviction was unlawful because his confession to Halbach’s murder was involuntary.
In his judgement, Duffin wrote, “The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on October 31 and assured Dassey that he had nothing to worry about. These repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.”
The Making a Murderer show asserts that Dassey’s former lawyer, Len Kachinsky, had made a deal that eventually led to the conviction of his client instead of fighting for his innocence, as reported by Yahoo News.
Making a Murderer: Brendan Dassey could sue police and his lawyer
Speaking with The Wrap, Kachinsky said, “I will not be further involved in Dassey’s case. I have no opinion as to his factual guilt or innocence. I expect the State will appeal.”
As a result, legal experts claim Dassey could sue the police and even his lawyer for millions of dollars. “He could sue his lawyer for putting him in the hands of his investigators, who just ripped him a new one,” Steve Cron, a criminal defense attorney and professor of law at the Pepperdine University, said. According to Cron, there was “malpractice” committed at the hands of Kachinsky.
However, winning might not be as easy. Legal experts say while the decision to throw out Dassey’s confession comes as good news, there is a possibility prosecutors could try Dassey again.