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Attorney says Steven Avery 'optimistic' following Dassey ruling

29 June 2017

An appellate panel on Thursday upheld a lower court's ruling awarding a new trial to Brendan Dassey, the teenage murder convict made famous by the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer."

Steven Avery's attorney, Kathleen Zellner, visited her client in Waupun Correctional Institution Friday, one day after an appeals court affirmed his nephew's confession to the murder of Teresa Halbach was coerced by Manitowoc County investigators.

The death of Halbach and the conviction of Avery and Dassey placed Manitowoc County in the national spotlight.

Avery remains in prison, but his attorneys have been seeking a new trial.

Magistrate Judge William Duffin had ruled in August that the conviction was based on a coerced confession that Dassey, now 27, gave as a 16-year-old with a learning disability.

Dassey's lawyer, Laura Nirider, of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University, said that they'll do whatever is legally possible to ensure that Dassey is released from prison and returns home to his family.

"[We] hope that today's erroneous decision will be reversed", a spokesman for the state's department of justice told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They now have 90 days from the court's order to retry him, and state attorneys could also appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The state has 90 days to decide whether or not to retry Dassey. That judge overturned Dassey's conviction according to WISC-TV.

"There is no longer any reason to further stay the district court's order releasing Mr. Dassey".

The state Justice Department appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a statement, they said, "In rejecting the State's assertion that Brendan confessed voluntarily, the court acknowledged what many parents already recognize: Brendan's youthfulness and intellectual disability make him particularly vulnerable in the interrogation room".

Detectives interviewed Dassey multiple times in the months after Halbach's disappearance.

A panel of federal judges ruled on Thursday that the confession in a high-profile, Wisconsin murder case was illegitimate. Dassey has been in prison for more than a decade.

Dassey's attorneys are evaluating their next steps to secure his release.

"It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles", Hamilton wrote.

Netflix have promised that a second series of Making a Murderer will air at the end of this year.

However, this may still not be the end for Brendan Dassey.