News & Politics

Supreme Court Lets Brendan Dassey Conviction Stand in Declining 'Making a Murderer' Case

YouTube screenshot of the trailer for the Netflix show "Making a Murderer."

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case of Wisconsin man Brendan Dassey, whose lawyers argued that his confession to a 2007 murder was coerced. His confession played a large role in the controversial case of Steven Avery, the focus of the Netflix true crime show “Making a Murderer” (2015-).

“Making a Murderer” suggests that Avery — who was convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985 but released after 18 years when DNA evidence exonerated him — was then set up by local law enforcement and convicted of a murder in 2007. In 2003, Avery had filed a $36 million civil lawsuit against Manitowoc County, its former sheriff, and its former district attorney for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. These officials, the story goes, then attempted to frame him for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.

Dassey, whose case the Supreme Court rejected, was convicted of being party to Halbach’s murder. At age 16, he was convicted of being party to first-degree murder, mutilation of a corpse, and second-degree sexual assault. He was sentenced to life in prison, with the earliest possibility of parole in 2048.

Dassey recanted his videotaped interrogation and confession at trial, and parts of the footage were shown in the Netflix show, which echoes his lawyers in claiming police coerced a confession from the teen. Dassey and Avery appear as themselves in the show.

In August 2016, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Dassey’s confession had been coerced, overturned his conviction, and ordered him released. This order was delayed during appeal. In December of last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld Dassey’s conviction by a vote of 4-3.

When the Supreme Court announced Monday that it would not hear the case, the justices gave no reason for the rejection.

Click “Load More” to watch the trailer for the Netflix show below.