You've probably heard about Making a Murderer by now, assuming you're plugged into either the news cycle or a Netflix account. The documentary series has drawn a tremendous amount of attention to the Steven Avery murder trial, but it also features another member of Avery's family who was convicted of murder. And just like the Avery case, it's drawing some heavy scrutiny for the first time in years ― so here's what's happening with the Brendan Dassey appeal.
While both the Avery and Dassey cases have been the subject of a lot of controversy and speculation since Making a Murderer was released in December, Avery is undoubtedly its central figure. But Dassey's case has been seen as no less controversial and objectionable in numerous ways ― his defense team is now arguing he deserves a completely new trial, by virtue of public defender Len Kachinsky's "disloyalty" to Dassey's defense in 2006.
That's the word Northwestern University School of Law professor Steve Drizin used to characterize Kachinsky's defense of Dassey, as NBC Chicago detailed ― Drizin is currently representing Dassey, along with the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern.
A lot of our appeal has to do with the actions that Brendan’s original attorney Len Kachinsky took, which demonstrated his disloyalty to Brendan and his willingness to work with the prosecution to try to get Brendan to plead guilty and testify against Steven Avery.
As it stands now, the appeal is in the waiting process. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it'll be up to federal judge Magistrate Judge William E. Duffin to decide on the federal appeal from Dassey's team, and whether he deserves a new trial. A decision is reportedly expected sometime throughout the next year.
And, while it isn't definitely the last chance for the case to get into another courtroom ― Drizin told Esquire that he also hopes the popularity of Making a Murderer could bring new evidence to the forefront, which would facilitate a retrial ― it would mean Dassey had exhausted both the state and federal appeals processes.
Dassey's defense is also arguing that his initial confession about being involved in Halbach's murder was false, the result of an allegedly coercive interrogation by investigators Mark Wiegert and Tom Fassbender. Both Wiegert and Fassbender testified in defense of their techniques during Dassey's trial. If you've already watched Making a Murderer and you're craving more information about what this part of the appeal will be based on, or if you haven't seen the series but want to know what that interrogation looked like, you're in luck: you can watch the video above, and make your own judgments.
Image: Making a Murderer/Netflix