In 2005, a then-16-year-old boy named Brendan Dassey admitted to joining his uncle, Steven Avery, in raping and murdering photographer Teresa Halbach. Dassey’s and his uncle’s stories were documented in the 2015 Netflix series “Making a Murderer.”
Dassey was convicted of the crimes and sentenced to life in prison. Now, 13 years later, he is requesting a pardon or commutation from Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
What Does a Pardon Do?
A governor pardon does not erase nor seal a person’s conviction, but it does restore some of their rights, such as holding public office or obtaining a professional license. In June of 2019, Evers reinstated the pardon board after it was rendered inactive by former Governor Scott Walker. Ever stated that his office will only grant pardons to individuals who have completed their sentences, which means that the chances of Dassey getting one are slim.
What Is a Commutation?
If a person is granted a commutation, their sentence could effectively be reduced. Unfortunately for Dassey, commutations are rare. The last one was granted in 1995 by former Governor Tommy Thompson.
Governor Evers stated he hasn’t seen Dassey’s application for clemency but will review it as he would any other request.
Dassey’s attorney hopes that Evers will make an exception in her client’s case. She stated that he is innocent and there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime. She also said that flaws in the legal system led to his conviction.
Dassey’s Taped Confession
The only thing that prosecutors had to go on in this case was Dassey’s recorded confession, which was shown at his trial. In the video, Dassey confesses to the crime, but his attorney said that it came only after law enforcement officials manipulated a boy who is intellectually impaired to tell them what they wanted to hear.
However, the prosecutors asserted that both Dassey and his mother gave permission for law enforcement to interrogate the boy. They said that investigators used standard techniques, such as showing sympathy for Dassey and encouraging him to give only truthful answers. Additionally, when questioning him, and he was not coerced into giving any answers.
Appeal Made to the U.S. Supreme Court
In June of 2018, Dassey attempted to appeal his conviction with the U.S. Supreme Court, but it said it would not consider his case. As is typical with the Supreme Court, it did not give a reason as to why it declined the case.
The only other way Dassey could his sentence vacated is to have a new trial. However, his attorney would have to prove that there is new evidence that warrants a second case.
Schedule a Free Consultation with the Law Offices of Christopher J. Cherella
Being convicted of a crime can have severe repercussions on your life, which is why it is imperative to have effective legal counsel on your side throughout your case. Our attorney is here to provide the skilled representation you need and will work hard toward obtaining a not guilty verdict.
Get in touch with our experienced lawyer today by calling us at (414) 882-8382 or scheduling a free consultation online.