Brendan Dassey To Be Released From Prison Pending The Prosecutor's Appeal — UPDATE
Here is some major news for Making a Murderer fans. On Monday, The Wrap reportedly obtained documents that state a Milwaukee-based federal judge ordered the supervised release of Brendan Dassey from prison pending a potential retrial and the prosecutors appeal. In 2007, Dassey whose case was featured in the hit Netflix documentary, was convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbech, alongside his uncle Steven Avery. (Avery filed a motion to appeal his conviction in January.) In August, the same judge overturned Dassey's conviction, which was then appealed in September by Wisconsin's Attorney General, Brad Schimel. Dassey's lawyer, Steven Drizin, confirmed his client's release on Twitter Monday by tweeting, "It's true. Judge Duffin granted Brendan's bond motion! More later. Someone from MAM nation will download order. I'm unable to for hours." Update: On Thursday, Nov. 17, the AP reported that federal appeals court blocked Dassey's release from prison.
Based on court documents obtained by TheWrap, Dassey's release is subject to certain conditions, including he can't get a passport and can only travel in the court's Eastern District of Wisconsin. Per the documents, Dassey may not possess a gun, any other weapons, or any controlled substances. Finally, "he may not violate any federal, state or local law and that Dassey must provide the address of his intended residence no later than Nov. 15." TheWrap also reports the documents read, "Dassey has no criminal record other than this case. His prison disciplinary record is exceedingly benign … There is no hint of violent or antisocial behavior from his time in prison." The documents also state that the "court does not find that the respondent has a strong likelihood of appeal."
In regards to the news, the Wisconsin Department of Justice released the following statement,
"Today, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin granted a motion for release in the Brendan Dassey case. Attorney General Brad Schimel intends to file an emergency motion in the Seventh Circuit seeking a stay of this release order."
At the time of his overturned conviction on Aug. 12, People obtained a copy of the court's decision, which read,
The investigators repeatedly claimed to already know what happened on Oct. 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.
As for the September appeal of his overturned conviction, it was reported that Dassey would remain in prison pending the ouctome of the appeal. However, that has now changed. Schimel released the following statement in September:
We believe the magistrate judge’s decision that Brendan Dassey’s confession was coerced by investigators, and that no reasonable court could have concluded otherwise, is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. Two state courts carefully examined the evidence and properly concluded that Brendan Dassey’s confession to sexually assaulting and murdering Teresa Halbach with his uncle, Steven Avery, was voluntary, and the investigators did not use constitutionally impermissible tactics.
At the time of Dassey's convinction being overturned, Netflix declined to comment about his case. The Making a Murderer fillmakers released the following statement to Bustle:
"Today there was a major development for the subjects in our story and this recent news shows the criminal justice system at work. As we have done for the past 10 years, we will continue to document the story as it unfolds, and follow it wherever it may lead."
Bustle has reached out to Netflix and the filmmaker's rep for comment on the news of Dassey's release, but has not yet received a response.
Update, 4:03 p.m.: Avery's lawyer Jerry Buting released the following statement to Bustle:
I'm very gratified that Judge Duffin ordered the release of Brendan Dassey on bail supervision pending the state appeal of his decision to the 7th Circuit court of appeals. The young man has already spent more than 10 years in prison and he has every incentive to cooperate with his bail supervision. I'm optimistic that his attorneys will prevail on appeal and this nightmare will effectively be over for him and his immediate family. I'm sure Steven Avery will continue his own efforts to reverse his unjustified conviction.
Update, Nov. 16, 12:22 p.m: On Wednesday, Nov. 16, it was announced that the judge ordered that Dassey be released by 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 18. The court rejected the state's emergency motion to keep Dassey in prison pending appeal.