In November of 2016, a federal judge ordered the release of Making A Murderer's Brendan Dassey. After a year-long fight, a Chicago federal appeals court has ruled that Dassey will continue to serve his life sentence behind bars.
The 4-to-3 ruling was issued Friday, December 8 and made by a panel of seven judges. “The state courts’ finding that Dassey’s confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable,” read part of the 39-page ruling, according to Variety.
In October of 2005, photographer Teresa Halbach went missing. Months later, her remains were found on Steven Avery's property, who is also Dassey’s uncle. Evidence later revealed that the then 16-year-old Dassey was an accomplice. Both were tried and convicted.
Nearly a decade later, the story captivated headlines and piqued public interest in late 2015, after Netflix released a 10-part docu-series on the case. Viewers of the series uncomfortably watched a young, confused Dassey interrogated by officers for hours, with no parent or legal counsel present. The public was outraged, leading many to believe in Dassey’s innocence. However, during the recent ruling, the courts didn’t see it that way.
Interest in both Dassey and Avery’s possible innocence was renewed after the series showed holes in both cases. It was also revealed that at the time of Dassey’s conviction he was a vulnerable teenage kid with a learning disability.
In her dissent, Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote, “His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison. I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice,” as noted by Variety.