Brendan Dassey or Brendan Ray Dassey was a 16-year-old special student who was convicted of the rape and murder of a freelance photographer named Teresa Halbach. But before you make any judgments, let us tell you that the case isn’t clear as it may have sounded to you right now.
For some, the complications of this case might seem beyond the point of comprehension. Brendan Dassey was born on the 19th of October 1989 and was only 16 years old when Teresa was reported missing by her parents on the 3rd of November 2005.
When Teresa Halbach was reported missing, Brendan Dassey was a sophomore at Mishicot Highschool. He was a special child whose IQ was said to be in the borderline deficiency range. Specifically, his IQ was measured at 74.
When police got to work, they discovered her car and found Steven Avery’s blood along with Teresa’s several other possessions, such as her phone, number plates, and the car key.
Seeing as Steven Avery’s blood was in the car, he was charged with heinous offenses of kidnapping, murder, mutilation of a corpse, and illegal possession of a firearm too.
Soon Brendan Dassey was brought into questioning in accordance with Steven Avery’s alibi. This is where things got problematic. According to the clinical assessment of Brendan Dassey, he was a highly suggestible person.
The interrogation techniques that were used on Brendan Dassey were approved by the law. However, the interrogators reportedly used Reid Technique which was designed to pressurize the interrogee.
Pressurizing a highly suggestible person can – undoubtedly – lead to complications. And they did. Judge Duffin ruled his confessions as clearly involuntary, but the panel of judges disagreed and overturned it based on a 3 – 4 decision.
Now let’s dive into the details of the case and find out what happened with Brendan Dassey, why he was brought into 48-hour sessions and didn’t have any parent, guardian, or legal representative to speak on his behalf.
Teresa Halbach was born on the 22nd of March 1980. She was a photographer who went missing on the 3rd of November 2005. Her parents reported it to the local police. But, she wasn’t seen since the 31st of October.
Now you might think that she must have lived in another city. Wrong! She lived right next door to her parents in Calumet County. That makes her murder even more strange.
Teresa Halbach was known for visiting the Avery Salvage Yard in Manitowoc County on the same day (the 31st of October 2005). On the 10th of November 2005 (which was seven days later when she went missing), her car was discovered, revealing much more about Teresa Halbach.
Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel found the missing photographer’s phone, car keys, and license plates in her Toyota RAV4. 5 days later, on the 15th of November 2005, a man named Steven Avery was held responsible for kidnapping and murdering Teresa Halbach.
The sole reason for charging the man for such violations was his blood which was found in Teresa’s car. Soon Dassey was also brought into the investigations. He and his mother agreed to attend the investigations, but soon Dassey found himself alone in the investigator’s room.
Investigators didn’t go beyond the scope of legality, meaning that they didn’t practice any tactic that would have been against the law. Soon Dassey confessed to playing his part as a co-conspirator in the murder and rape of the dead photographer Teresa Halbach.
But the problem is much more complex than that. A common opinion was soon formed against the law enforcement institutions as people regarded his confessions as clearly involuntary.
That opinion was first voiced by a magistrate of the United States. We will soon look into some of the already discussed details in order to connect the dots and see why he voiced such an opinion.
For now, we will look at what happened after he suggested that the confession was clearly involuntary. An appellate court overturned the opinion and got upheld by the Supreme Court by refusing to hear the case.
Now let’s look at why the Magistrate Duffin’s declared Dassey’s confession as ‘clearly involuntary.’ The WHY behind his decision will also explain how his theory makes perfect sense.
Why Judge William E. Duffin Overturned Brendan Dassey’s Confession & Ruled It as Clearly Involuntary?
On the 9th of January, 2018, the news circulated on the internet that Judge Duffin had overturned Dassey’s conviction. Plus, Brendan Dassey’s petition on the Eastern District of Wisconsin Court was officially dismissed.
Judge William E. Duffin considered three primary factors in the case. First thing, Brendan Dassey is a special student. He attended special classes because his IQ was in the borderline deficiency range.
Secondly, he needed a parent or a guardian by his side for obvious reasons. A special child whose main problem is IQ cannot be articulated at all and also finds it almost impossible to participate in cognitively engaging tasks.
Thirdly, these conditions, combined with his age (which was just 16 at the time), almost made it impossible for him to play such a complicated role.
Think about a person who has an IQ of 74 and could possibly be a co-conspirator of the murder and rape of an individual. It is nearly impossible.
Fourthly, Brendan Dassey sat in front of the investigators for the first time. So even if they were using approved techniques, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Brendan felt any sort of pressure or wasn’t pressurized in any way.
Now you might think, well, pressure is inevitable for interrogee. So, why do we even have to discuss it here? Well, that matters because we are dealing with Brendan Dassey here, who is a special student.
In addition to that, Judge Duffin also believed that the investigators, in this case, violated Brendan Dassey’s constitutional rights during the interrogation. All of these factors made it highly possible that Brendan Dassey was under some sort of pressure.
Hence, Judge William E. Duffin said that all of these (above-mentioned) factors (such as age, IQ, missing parent) combined with the investigator’s violation of Brendan Dassey’s constitutional rights led him to rule Brendan Dassey’s confession was involuntary under the U.S. constitution.
However, the United States Court of Appeals disagreed with Judge William E. Duffin’s ruling based on a 4 -3 decision by the panel of judges. Therefore, Brendan Dassey’s appeal was denied, whereby his attorneys planned to take the case to the U.S. Supreme court.
Brendan Dassey was brought into interrogations four times over 48 hours. These sessions included 24-hour interrogations three times without any guardian, parent, or legal representative.
The reason why that creates a question mark on Dassey’s confession is that he is clinically evaluated as a highly suggestible individual. This means that he probably made those confessions under pressure.
What further adds weight to this side of the argument is the fact that he was interrogated using the Reid technique. Most people aren’t familiar with the Reid technique because it’s purely interrogation stuff.
Reid technique is one of the methods that are used to interrogate individuals. The method was developed by a psychologist who was also a polygraph expert. Reid’s interrogation technique is known to create a high-pressure environment for an interrogee.
Now you combine that technique with the clinical evaluations of Brandon Dassey, and you’ll reach the same conclusion that Judge Duffin was in favor of.
Brendan Dassey was a special child and a special student. He was just 16 years old and was a sophomore at Mishicot High School. Seeing his clinical assessments and officially measured IQ, it seems hard to believe that he played any part in murdering Teresa Halbach.
One of the things that we should particularly consider is the role that he confessed to playing in Teresa Halbach’s murder. Being a co-conspirator and planning out someone’s rape and murder is not something that 74-IQ-individual can do.
Brandon Dassey was an introvert and a quiet person. He also liked watching WWE. Seeing such a person being punished for such heinous crimes certainly raises eyebrows, that’s for sure.
Did it raise your eyebrow too? What do you think about the whole Brandan Ray Dassey case and his confession to such heinous crimes? Do you think exactly what Judge Duffin thought of the whole case?