WISCONSIN (WBAY) – The Wisconsin Department of Justice is asking a U.S. District Court to stop the release of Brendan Dassey.
In a motion to the court Tuesday afternoon, the DOJ asks for a decision by 4 p.m. Wednesday, saying it will file an emergency motion with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by the end of the business day tomorrow.
This comes a day after the same federal magistrate who overturned Brendan Dassey’s conviction back in August ordered Dassey’s supervised release from prison. The order by U.S. Magistrate William Duffin was handed down Monday.
The State argues that the court didn’t have the authority to issue the order for Dassey’s release, and it believes the Seventh Circuit will reverse the decision.
The State was given the choice to release Dassey, re-try him, or appeal the August ruling that overturned his conviction. The State believed by responding in September that it would appeal, that Dassey would not be released.
The DOJ cites a 1987 U.S. Supreme Court decision that while a decision ordering the release of a prisoner is under review, courts are directed to “consider the possibility of flight, the risk of danger to the public, and… the State’s interest in continuing custody and rehabilitation pending a final determination of the case on appeal.”
The DOJ argues keeping Dassey in custody is in the public interest and that “harms to the State and Teresa Halbach’s family are real and substantial.”
This begs the questions: Will Brendan Dassey be released from prison and when?
Dassey remains behind bars at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage. He and his uncle Steven Avery were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who disappeared after an assignment on the Avery property in October, 2005.
The judge’s order in August overturning Dassey’s murder conviction said the then-teenager’s confession to the crime was coerced by police.
Monday, the judge gave Dassey’s family until noon today, Tuesday, to provide an address where he intended to live to the U.S. Probation Office, so it could conduct a visit.
Action 2 News talked with the chief probation officer Tuesday afternoon. He said he can’t tell us whether an address was submitted or if his team was able to check the home yet.
He said once they do have a place considered suitable for Dassey to live, they’ll work with his attorneys to make it happen.
Dassey’s attorneys have not returned our messages today and have been especially quiet on social media since the news broke Monday.
While most relatives and friends of Dassey are not commenting today, Action 2 News spoke with Sandy Greenman, Avery’s friend and ex-fiance, who said she spoke with Avery at length Tuesday morning and Avery feels very confident Dassey will be released in the next few days.
The same federal magistrate who overturned Brendan Dassey’s conviction back in August has ordered Dassey’s supervised release from prison.
The order by U.S. Magistrate William Duffin was handed down Monday.
But his release wouldn’t happen right away. Both Dassey’s attorneys and the United States Probation Office out of Milwaukee, which will be charged with monitoring him, confirmed that to us.
The probation office needs to conduct a home visit to the residence where Dassey will be living, and that visit hasn’t happened yet.
Dassey is serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who disappeared after an assignment on the Avery property in Manitowoc County. The case gained global attention after the release of the “Making A Murderer”, a Netflix docu-series making a case that the convicted killers were set up by a vengeful Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Office.
Dassey has until noon Tuesday to provide an address where he’ll be staying to the U.S. Probation Office.
Late Monday afternoon, the Probation Office told Action 2 News it’s never dealt with a situation like this in its district, so it’s unsure when Dassey will actually be released from custody.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice said Attorney General Brad Schimel is filing an emergency motion with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to stop the release.
The State is still appealing Duffin’s ruling in August overturning the conviction. While that appeal is still in the court system, Dassey’s attorneys filed a motion in September to have him released. The state filed an objection to that motion, which was denied Monday with magistrate’s order.
The 17-page order signed by Duffin on Monday says that a U.S. Probation Office monitor will make sure Dassey is compliant with the conditions of release imposed by the court while his case is being appealed.
Conditions include: Dassey shall not violate any laws, he must appear in court as required, he cannot have a gun or weapon, he cannot possess any controlled substances, and he cannot have contact with Steven Avery or the family of Teresa Halbach. His travel will be restricted to the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
A social worker and probation officers will help him transition to life out of prison after nearly 10 years behind bars.
Dassey is currently being held at Columbia Correctional Institution. There are conflicting reports and opinions about when he could be released — if he’s released at all. Action 2 News has a crew outside the prison in Portage.
Drizin says the news Dassey’s release could come soon has brought joy and excitement to the family.
Dassey’s half-brother Brad told us he’s elated by the news and is hopeful his brother will be home soon.
“I just hope to see him smiling ear to ear. Honestly, I think it’s going to be a scary and exciting experience to be out after 10 years and I just pray for protection over his life and I’m sure everybody is going to show him around.”
Earlier, Brad Dassey celebrated the news on his Facebook page.
Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth said, “The family is over the moon. Brendan and his mother have spent 10 Thanksgivings apart and the idea that he could be home by Thanksgiving is, I mean, talk about tasting gratitude…. This is their dream, so today they’re feeling intense gratitude and making plans for the first time. Feeling as though they can make plans.”
Nirider continued, “They have faith in Brendan. They have faith that the system will get to the truth and has gotten to the truth when it declared that Brendan’s confession wasn’t reliable. And at this point we just have to have faith that the system is doing to continue reaching the right result.”
Kathleen Zellner, the Chicago-area lawyer helping Steven Avery with his appeal, believes Dassey will be home within the next 10 days.
At 1:20 p.m., as news of the judge’s order was spreading, Zellner tweeted that she was with the Avery family. She’s since deleted that tweet.
In August, a federal magistrate ruled that investigators coerced Dassey’s confession that he helped his uncle Steven Avery rape and kill Halbach in 2005. The judge overturned Dassey’s conviction, and Dassey filed a motion to be released. Dassey was 16 at the time he was interviewed by police.
“The court concluded that, when viewed collectively, various assertions and assurances the investigators repeatedly made to Dassey amounted to false promises that he would not be punished,” reads the August 12 order.
The state of Wisconsin is appealing the judge’s decision. In October, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel filed the opening brief in the state’s appeal.
“We’re still four or five months out from the briefing being done, then the court will consider the evidence. And, it was a nine-day trial, as I recall. There’s an enormous amount of evidence for the appellate court to look over and prepare with and so, it, we’re probably quite some months out from a decision,” Schimel told Action 2 News.
Action 2 News has crews across the state right now covering this story as it develops, including reaction to the judge’s decision. Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer is reminding people to remember the victim.
“I think the legal issues are complicated and they’ll get decided in the court of law and that will be fine, and in the meantime I’m just thinking about the Halbach family,” Ziegelbauer said.