Judge Tosses 'Making a Murderer' Conviction

     (CN) - A federal magistrate judge on Friday overturned the conviction of a man found guilty of helping his uncle kill Teresa Halbach in a case profiled in the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer."
     U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin, presiding in the Milwaukee Federal Court, overturned Brendan Dassey's conviction and ordered him freed within 90 days.
     The only thing that could prevent Dassey's release in that timeframe is the state initiating proceedings to retry him, Duffin said.
     Dassey confessed to helping his uncle Steven Avery carry out the rape and murder of Halbach, but attorneys argued that the confession was coerced.
     Dassey was 16 when Halbach was killed in 2005 after she went to the Avery family auto salvage yard to photograph some vehicles.
     Avery was tried and convicted separately in the homicide.
     Judge Duffin said in his 91-page order that investigators made false promises to Brendan Dassey, assuring him several times that they were "on his side" and that "he had nothing to worry about," and that these "repeated false promises, when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey's age, intellectual deficits, lack of experience in dealing with the police, the absence of a parent, and other personal characteristics ... the conclusion that Dassey's statement was involuntary under the totality of the circumstances is not one about which 'fairminded jurists could disagree.'"
     "Consequently, the court finds that the confession Dassey gave to the police on March 1, 2006, was so clearly involuntarily in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals' decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law," Duffin wrote.