News 07.05.17

Brendan Dassey Case Brings National Attention to Problem of Coerced Confessions

By Innocence Staff

Criminal justice advocates say the focus on Brendan Dassey’s case has brought national attention to the issue of false confessions, especially by juveniles and other vulnerable people, according to the Daily Tribune.

Last month, an appeals court affirmed an August ruling that overturned Dassey’s murder conviction on the grounds that his confession was coerced. The Wisconsin Department of Justice plans to appeal the decision, and Dassey will not be released on bond in the meantime.

Dassey’s fate hangs in the balance, but his case has captivated the nation, bringing to light the problems with the way custodial interrogations are conducted across the nation.

Daniel Medwed, professor of law and criminal justice at Northeastern University, told the Tribune that Dassey’s case could make courts more aware of the factors that contribute to false confessions.

“People, and juveniles with mental health issues, are often times more open to suggestions and more susceptible to coercion,” Medwed told the Tribune.

Lindsay Malloy, professor of psychology at Florida International University, told the Tribune that Making a Murderer, the Netflix documentary series about Dassey’s case, has brought the issue of false confessions to the forefront.

“Lay people, those who are not in the (criminal justice) field, have learned what false confessions are from this case and the techniques that can lead to false confessions,” Malloy told the Tribune. “People used to think that it was only physical coercion that led to these things. You can take someone like Brendan Dassey, a vulnerable person, and chip away in an interrogation like this and get a false confession.”

Read the Daily Tribune article here.

Related: Spotlight on Problems of Juvenile Interrogations in Tennessee

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  1. Rachel Fronczek says:

    How do we get him released already ges served too much time already for a crime of being a disabled child

  2. Melodie Paul says:

    The prosecuting investigation team failed to protect a child. Brendan Dassey was a CHILD. The interrogation against him was so answer fed to a child once again a CHILD with a Mental Disability. Anyone who works with or knows anything about children or even adults with mental issues or learning issues, knows that they will answer to something even if it is a lie. The system failed him. He didn’t even understand the severity or the issue at hand. Also, is it not illegal to coerce children and pretty much bait a confession without a Legal Guardians permission or presence? It makes you sick, it truly truly shakes you to the core to know that this child was forced behind bars and remains there as an adult.
    Earth shattering.

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