Former Steven Avery attorneys ask Gov. Evers to commute sentence of Brendan Dassey
MADISON, Wis. — Sixteen years after Brendan Dassey was arrested in the death of Teresa Halbach, the attorneys who represented Dassey’s uncle are asking Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers to commute his sentence.
“By constitutional design, you can be a governor of grace, not of cruelty or cowardice. We urge you now to be exactly that,” attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting wrote in a letter to the governor this week, asking him to shorten Dassey’s sentence.
Evers has granted more pardons than any other governor in Wisconsin’s history but has not granted clemency in any case during his term. Dassey petitioned the governor for a pardon in 2019, which Evers rejected because he did not meet the requirements for a pardon — specifically, that a sentence needs to be completed and that registered sex offenders cannot be pardoned.
Evers also said at the time he was not considering requests for commutation.
Dassey was sentenced to life in prison in 2007 after a videotaped confession he gave when he was 16 years old. In the years since, many have argued that his confession was coerced and should not have been admissible in court, based on his low cognitive skills.
Those efforts to free Dassey intensified after the release of the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer,” profiling the case against Dassey and Steven Avery. The documentary showed portions of Dassey’s interrogation, in which investigators claimed he would have “nothing to worry about” if he “filled in the gaps” of what happened to Halbach.
In 2016, Dassey was nearly released when a federal judge based in Milwaukee found “significant doubts” in his confession, but that decision was later overturned by an appeals court, which ruled there was no legal requirement to overturn the conviction.
Now 32 years old, Dassey is not eligible for parole until 2048, when he will be 59 years old.
You can read the full letter to the governor here, or below.
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