Supreme Court Denies 'Making a Murderer' Brendan Dassey's Appeal Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of Brendan Dassey, whose murder conviction was the subject of Netflix’s true crime documentary Making a Murderer.

Dassey is currently serving a life sentence after he confessed to raping and murdering photographer Teresa Halbach in eastern Wisconsin in 2005 with his uncle, Steven Avery, in a case that riveted Netflix audiences in Making a Murderer. While the docuseries claimed that Dassey had been coerced into confessing and no physical evidence linked him to the crime, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear Dassey’s appeal case, according to NBC News.

Dassey and his uncle were the subject of Netflix’s 2015 10-part documentary series Making a Murderer, which controversially detailed their convictions stemming from the 2005 murder of Halbach, who had last been seen on Avery’s property and whose charred remains were discovered on his property. The series, which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials as well as the legal process that led to Dassey and Avery’s convictions, led to petitions urging former President Barack Obama to issue Dassey, who was 16 at the time of the crime, a pardon.

In February, it was announced that Dassey had asked the Supreme Court to toss out his confession and hear his case, citing that at the time of the confession he understood little of what was going on and that it was coerced.

“Put simply, the interrogators took advantage of Dassey’s youth and mental limitations to convince him they were on his side, ignored his manifest inability to correctly answer many of their questions about the crimes, fed him facts so he could say what they wanted to hear, and promised that he would be set free if he did so. The resulting confession was more theirs than his,” longtime Supreme Court practitioner Seth Waxman said at the time.

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The U.S. Supreme Court did not issue a reasoning for denying the appeal.

Prior to this, a judge in 2016 overturned Dassey’s conviction, claiming that he was coerced into confessing, and in June 2017, a three-judge panel of U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld that ruling. However, in December, judges voted to uphold Dassey’s conviction after the state of Wisconsin requested that a seven-member panel hear the appeal.

Dassey, 28, has served 12 years of his life sentence. His uncle, Steven Avery, was given a life sentence without the possibility of parole.