Legal experts who weighed in on the recent court decision that Making a Murderer‘s Brenden Dassey’s murder and rape confession was not coerced, claim that getting his case in front of the Supreme Court for appeal is a “long shot” at best.
”Any appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is a long shot,” said Michael O’Hear, a professor of law at Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, according to the Post-Crescent. “While the numbers vary from year to year, the Court normally agrees to hear only about 1 percent of the cases in which its review is sought.”
O’Hear was speaking in reference to a ruling by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals last Friday, when by a 4-3 margin, the court reinstated Dassey’s murder conviction for the 2005 death of Auto Trader freelance photographer, Teresa Halbach. The ruling came after Dassey’s confession was found to be coerced last year, according the ruling of a dissenting judge.
“We intend to continue pursuing relief for Brendan, including through a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court,” Dassey’s lawyers, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, said in a joint statement.
O’Hear added that the Supreme Court is typically drawn to cases that have a “clear dispute,” something that Dassey’s case, in his opinion is lacking.
“It is hard to predict what the justices will do with any given case, but they are normally drawn to cases that present clear disputes about what the meaning of the law is, as opposed to cases that are really about whose version of the facts is correct. Dassey’s appeal is in something of a gray area between ‘law’ and ‘fact.’
“His lawyers will want to argue that the Seventh Circuit majority was not merely mistaken about the facts of the case, but also about the governing law. Even if a case has great legal significance, however, there is no guarantee that the Court will take it.”
Milwaukee lawyer Raymond Dall’Osto, however, thinks that Dassey’s case includes some interesting factors that could pique the interest of the Supreme Court. According to the lawyer, Dassey’s attorneys raise some interesting points that “point to some considerable issues, which may be enough to get Dassey before the Supreme Court.”
“That doesn’t mean it’s a good chance or an excellent chance, but he has a decent chance,” Dall’Osto added. “I can’t opine on whether he is innocent or not, but the procedure that was used (to get Dassey’s confession) was clearly unconstitutional.”
Northeastern University professor Daniel Medwed added that Dassey’s chances of getting his case in front of the Supreme Court was not much better than winning the lottery.
Dassey remains that Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin, serving a life sentence on charges of first-degree intentional homicide, mutilation of a corpse, and rape.
[Feature Photo: Brendan Dassey/AP/Morry Gash, File]