MILWAUKEE -- A Wisconsin federal judge has ordered the release of Brendan Dassey, the man convicted of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case profiled in the popular Netflix series "Making a Murderer," while prosecutors appeal his overturned 2007 murder conviction.
U.S. District Judge William Duffin on Monday, November 14th ordered the release of Dassey -- to be freed under the supervision of the US Probation Office.
In 2005, Dassey, then 16, confessed to authorities that he assisted his uncle, Steven Avery, in raping and killing photographer Teresa Halbach, who went missing on Halloween in 2005. Her charred remains were found in November 2005 on Avery family property in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
The case was chronicled in the controversial 10-part Netflix series "Making a Murderer," which suggested that investigators took advantage of Dassey's youth and limited intellect to coax him into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. Court documents stated that Dassey IQ's was "assessed as being in the low average to borderline range."
Dassey, who has been incarcerated at a state prison in Wisconsin, later recanted.
Judge Duffin overturned Dassey's conviction in August, citing the manner in which the confession was attained. He called it "so clearly involuntary in a constitutional sense that the court of appeals' decision to the contrary was an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law."
"The court's decision rests on a fundamental principle that is too often forgotten by courts and law enforcement officers: Interrogation tactics which may not be coercive when used on adults are coercive when used on juveniles, particularly young people like Brendan with disabilities," said Dassey's attorneys, Steven A. Drizin and Laura Nirider, in August.
The state has appealed the ruling overturning Dassey's conviction.
Dassey's supervised release was not immediate Monday, and is contingent upon him meeting multiple conditions.
As part of the motion, Dassey must provide to the court the address of his intended residence no later than noon on Tuesday, November 15th. He has also been ordered not to have any contact with the family of Teresa Halbach or co-defendant Steven Avery. He must also not possess a firearm or any controlled substance. Dassey's trial is also restricted to the Eastern District of Wisconsin -- and he "shall not obtain a passport."
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is trying to block Dassey's release:
"U.S. Magistrate Judge William Duffin granted a motion for release in the Brendan Dassey case. Attorney General Brad Schimel intends to file an emergency motion in the Seventh Circuit seeking a stay of this release order."
"I would imagine that the 7th Circuit is going to issue a decision one way or another with regard to that decision, sometime within the next week to 10 days or so," Chris Cherella, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer said.
Steven Avery's attorney reacted on Twitter Monday:
Zellner issued the following statement on Monday afternoon:
"Very disappointing that the Wisconsin Attorney General is seeking vindication rather than justice."
Dassey's legal team at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth released this statement:
"Today, the District Court granted Brendan Dassey’s motion for release on bond. We are in the process of making arrangements for his release and hope that Brendan will be reunited with his family by Thanksgiving, if not sooner. We urge everyone to respect Brendan’s privacy during this time of transition.
As we give thanks this holiday season for family and friends, our food will taste all the sweeter because we know that for the first time in ten years, Brendan will be celebrating in freedom with his family, too."
A 48-page motion filed in federal court in September after his conviction was overturned in August argued Dassey was not a flight risk and would not pose a danger to the public if he’s released.
The judge in August ruled that Dassey, now 27, be freed within 90 days unless prosecutors appealed or decided to retry him.
"If they determine that Judge Duffin`s order to suppress the statement was indeed correct, ultimately the state will have to make a decision to re-try him without that statement," Cherella said.
54-year-old Avery is serving a life sentence at a Wisconsin prison.
He has maintained his innocence throughout his trial. He said he was framed and is seeking a new trial.
Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.