Following the release of Making a Murderer on Netflix in December 2015, the public was made aware of the plight of Brendan Dassey. The Manitowoc resident and his uncle Steven Avery were the focus of the docu-series that investigated their conviction for their part in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. While the series called many aspects of the case into question, one of the most shocking moments was the reveal of Dassey's confession, which appeared to be coerced from the intellectually disabled 16-year-old.
In the time since #MakingAMurderer was released, Dassey's lawyers have been working hard to clear his name, winning many important court victories that have helped lay the base for a judge to overturn his conviction. However, they have also faced significant challenges, and today Dassey has another court date that is a crucial step in working toward his name being cleared.
Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided to re-hear Dassey's case, with oral arguments beginning September 26 in Chicago. The court's ruling following this will decide whether a now 27-year-old Dassey will be released from prison, re-tried or if he'll serve out his life sentence.
Dassey's confession will be at the core of the defense's case as they argue that it was coerced from Dassey by detectives. Meanwhile the prosecutors will be arguing that the confession is legitimate, while also putting forth the argument that Dassey's name cannot be cleared under the AEDPA statute, which sets deadlines for how long defendants have to file habeas corpus appeals.
However, regardless of which way the Seventh Circuit rules, it seems almost certain that an appeal will be made, and the case will come before the US Supreme Court. Though, if enough judges on the Seventh Circuit agree that Dassey's confession was in fact coerced by the detective, the Supreme Court can deny the appeal to hear the case.
While Brendan Dassey continues to fight for his freedom, Making A Murderer Season 2 is currently in production, and is expected to be released on Netflix sometime in late 2017.