UPDATE: Wisconsin AG files appeal in Brendan Dassey case - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Wisconsin AG files appeal in Brendan Dassey case

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UPDATE (WKOW) -- Law experts say Wisconsin's attorney general has a tough road ahead in appealing a ruling that overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey.  

After Dassey's confession led to his conviction in 2005, it was thrown out after his attorney's claimed it was given involuntarily. Giving the state prosecutors little evidence to work with if they decide to re-try Dassey in the future.

"I couldn't charge this case without a confession," said former federal prosecutor Chris Van Wagner. "If all they had was the evidence other than the confession, and they wanted to go to trial I would think a trial judge would be prepared very quickly to throw the case out."

Van Wagner says the state can obtain the confession if their appeal is approved by the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals.

Other experts say on top of getting the confession, the state would also have to find a group of 12 jurors with no prior knowledge of the case.

"Finding people that have no knowledge, or have limited knowledge of that case given the amount of attention that the country paid to the documentary. I think that's gonna be a real challenge," said former Deputy District Attorney Timothy Verhoff.

Van Wagner says if the state is denied the confession, it's unlikely it would re-try Dassey.

However, until the appeals process is complete Dassey will remain in prison.

"Even if they fail, it holds this young man in prison for the next six to twelve months."

No word yet on how long the process will take.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's attorney general is appealing a ruling that overturned the conviction of a man accused of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case documented in the Netflix series "Making a Murderer."
   A federal magistrate judge ruled Aug. 12 that investigators used deceptive tactics to coerce Brendan Dassey to confess to helping Steven Avery rape and kill photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. Dassey was 16 at the time.
   Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel's office appealed the ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday. His office filed notice of appeal with the court but documents outlining the state's arguments will come later.
   The judge ordered that Dassey be released within 90 days, unless prosecutors appealed or retried him.

Today, Attorney General Brad Schimel, on behalf of Warden Michael Dittmann and the State of Wisconsin, filed a notice of appeal in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Dassey v. Dittmann.

On August 12, 2016, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin granted Brendan Dassey’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. The State of Wisconsin will appeal this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Per the magistrate’s decision, the Court’s order is stayed pending the outcome of the appeal.

“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,” said Attorney General Brad Schimel. “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.”

“The Halbach family has been notified of the appeal and fully supports the State’s decision to seek justice on behalf of their daughter.”

Copies of relevant court filings are attached.

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