Brendan Dassey's attorneys go deep on one of the main factors in wrongful convictions. Info/tix
The Netflix documentary series Making A Murderer raises serious questions about the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County and the guilt of the two men currently serving life sentences for the crime, Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. As their cases wear on in court, the series has become a messy public sensation, spawning a defamation lawsuit from a detective, turning Madison-based attorney Dean Strang into an unlikely heartthrob, and inspiring creepy mouse-man prosecutor Ken Kratz to publish a book and go on speaking tours. More importantly, Making A Murderer has also ignited a long-overdue public conversation about the fundamental issues that drive wrongful convictions. One of the most common factors in such cases? The false confession.
Here, Strang will moderate a conversation about that with Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, the two Northwestern University law professors currently representing Brendan Dassey. In Making A Murderer's second season, Nirider and Drizin take an in-depth look at the confession police extracted from Dassey—who has developmental disabilities, and was a teenager at the time of the murder and initial investigation. Even if you're not convinced that Steven Avery is innocent, it's pretty tough to watch the video of Dassey's confession and see anything other than a gruesome miscarriage of justice. It's a master class in why people often confess to crimes they didn't commit, and the coercive, deceptive tactics police use to get those confessions. Nirider and Drizin are doing noble work here, using the popularity of Making A Murderer to educate the public about issues that have impacted hundreds if not thousands of criminal cases. —Scott Gordon