UPDATE: Attorneys present arguments that will decide fate of Bre - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Attorneys present arguments that will decide fate of Brendan Dassey

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CHICAGO (WBAY) -

A federal appeals court in Chicago will decide the fate of “Making A Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey after hearing arguments from both sides Tuesday.

Dassey’s attorney Laura Nirider and Wisconsin Department of Justice prosecutor Luke Berg presented their arguments in front of a panel of three judges on Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were convicted in separate trials for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County. Their cases gained international attention following the Netflix release of a documentary series “Making a Murderer.”

In August, federal judge William Duffin overturned Dassey’s 1st Degree Intentional Homicide conviction, ruling that Dassey’s confession was improperly obtained by Manitowoc County investigators due to his age (he was 16 at the time); intellectual deficits; and lack of adult present for his questioning. The ruling states that Dassey’s confession was involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The state appealed that decision to the Seventh Circuit Court and asked for oral arguments, which were presided over Tuesday by Judge David F. Hamilton, Judge Ilana D. Rovner, and Judge Ann C. Williams.

Prosecutor Berg started Tuesday morning’s hearing by saying, “Brendan Dassey chose to confess, and to release those terrible images of Teresa Halbach that were haunting him. The investigators encouraged him to get it out, but did not apply any improper pressure.”

One of the judges immediately interrupted Berg, asking him if Dassey, a 16-year-old with a low IQ, would misinterpret investigator statements–such as “honesty will set you free”–to mean he would be able to go home after talking with police. The government cannot promise a suspect freedom in return for a confession.

“I think neither an average person nor Dassey would interpret that statement as meaning he could go home,” Berg said.

“Nothing the investigators said actually promised a specific benefit in exchange for cooperation.”

After the state took its 20 minutes, Dassey attorney Laura Nirider started by arguing that investigators offered her client, a teenager with a 73 IQ, a “false promise of leniency.”

“This message was repeated not once, not twice, but in a cumulative drum beat over and over, and was referenced between each major admission in the case,” Nirider said.

“When we have someone like Brendan with his slew of limitations, staggeringly suggestible–more suggestible than 95 percent of the population. A concrete thinker, the kind of person likely to interpret idioms like ‘honesty will set you free’ literally. The repeated drumbeat of messages that were sent to him clearly, clearly overbore his will.”

Judge Hamilton, though, stated that he didn’t believe that his will was overbore, because Miranda rights were read to Brendan, and investigators didn’t directly promise Brendan his freedom.

Nirider also argues that Dassey’s pre-trial attorney Len Kachinsky was ineffective, and that no physical evidence ties Dassey to the murder of Teresa Halbach.

The judges ended the hearing by thanking both sides. It will now be up to the judges to determine whether or not to uphold overturned conviction. Action 2 News has been told that the court won’t issue a decision until sometime after June.

The state has had success with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the past.

After Judge Duffin ruled that Dassey be released from prison pending appeal, the state went to the court to stop Dassey’s release. The court ruled in the state’s favor, saying Dassey must remain behind bars pending the outcome of the appeal.

Dassey’s uncle Steven Avery is also appealing his conviction.  Avery has claimed that he was framed for the Halbach murder.

Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, says the Wisconsin State Crime Lab is conducting advanced forensic testing on eight pieces of evidence. Most of it is from Halbach’s SUV found on Avery’s Salvage property in 2005. The testing is more advanced than what was available in 2007, when Avery was convicted of murdering Halbach.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he couldn’t imagine the tests will produce any new results.

WBAY-TV reporter Emily Matesic was in the courtroom for oral arguments. She reports that family members of victim Teresa Halbach were there. Also, former Calumet County prosecutor Ken Kratz, the man who originally tried Dassey and Avery for the Halbach murder, was present for the hearing.

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A federal appeals court in Chicago has heard arguments in the case of “Making A Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey.

Dassey’s attorneys and Wisconsin Department of Justice prosecutor Luke Berg presented arguments in front of a panel of three judges on Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorneys for both sides were allotted 20 minutes to argue their case, with the possibility of the State receiving an extra five minutes for rebuttal.

Judge David F. Hamilton, Judge Ilana D. Rovner, and Judge Ann C. Williams heard the arguments.

Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery were convicted in separate trials for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County. Their cases gained international attention following the Netflix release of a documentary series “Making a Murderer.”

In August, federal judge William Duffin overturned Dassey’s 1st Degree Intentional Homicide conviction, ruling that Dassey’s confession was improperly obtained by Manitowoc County investigators due to his age (he was 16 at the time); intellectual deficits; and lack of adult present for his questioning.

The ruling states that Dassey’s confession was involuntary under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

The State of Wisconsin appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court asking Duffin’s ruling overturning Dassey’s conviction be reversed and requested today’s oral arguments. State prosecutors argue Dassey’s confession to his role in Halbach’s murder was voluntary. They say investigators had the mother’s permission to interview him and he was read his Miranda rights. They say he gave details about the rape and murder that were not given to him through the investigators’ open ended questions and were corroborated by evidence.

Dassey’s attorneys argue the district court was correct to rule Dassey’s confession involuntary. They also claim that Dassey’s pre-trial attorney Len Kachinsky “helped the prosecution advance its case against Brendan.”

WBAY-TV reporter Emily Matesic was in the courtroom. She reports that family members of victim Teresa Halbach were there. Also, former Calumet County prosecutor Ken Kratz, the man who originally tried Dassey and Avery for the Halbach murder, is present for the hearing.

While the court heard arguments Tuesday, we’re told it won’t issue a decision until sometime after June.

The state has had success with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in the past.

After Judge Duffin ruled that Dassey be released from prison pending appeal, the state went to the court to stop Dassey’s release. The court ruled in the state’s favor, saying Dassey must remain behind bars pending the outcome of the appeal.

Dassey’s uncle Steven Avery is also appealing his conviction.  Avery has claimed that he was framed for the Halbach murder.

Avery’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, says the Wisconsin State Crime Lab is conducting advanced forensic testing on eight pieces of evidence. Most of it is from Halbach’s SUV found on Avery’s Salvage property in 2005. The testing is more advanced than what was available in 2007, when Avery was convicted of murdering Halbach.

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said he couldn’t imagine the tests will produce any new results.

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