They were both handed life sentences.
"If a state court can evade all federal review by merely parroting the correct Supreme Court law", Judge Ilana Rovner wrote of the state's ruling that Dassey's confession in the case of Halbach's murder was not coerced, "then the writ of habeas corpus is meaningless". They can also appeal the full 7th Circuit panel or to the U.S. Supreme Court. Dassey was 16 at the time of the confession. Dassey told detectives he helped his uncle, Steven Avery, rape and kill Halbach.
The judges said the state appellate court ignored "many signs" that Dassey was trying to please investigators and a clear pattern of fact-finding and promises. Instead, the state appealed the judge's decision, keeping Dassey in prison and leaving a federal appeals court to decide if his conviction should be overturned or not.
The 25-year-old woman's incinerated remains were found at the Avery family's scrapyard in Manitowac County, Wisconsin, in 2005.
The panel's ruling affirms a decision last August, in which Judge William Duffin tossed Dassey's conviction and characterized the "misconduct" of Dassey's first attorney as "indefensible".
Dassey and Avery's case was internationally recognized after they were featured in the documentary series in 2015.
"The focus of the judge's decision was on the interrogation when Dassey confessed".
"But it's clearly the correct decision as the court pointed out the Wisconsin state courts didn't look at the specific qualities of Brendan Dassey: his intellectual limitations, and the specifics about him and they totally missed that analysis". A ruling released Thursday also stated that Dassey's confession was not voluntarily given.
In a joint statement, Dassey's lawyers said they were "overjoyed". Still, the state may disagree for some stupid reason, so now Dassey just has to wait and see what happens. For now, he will remain in jail, pending the Wisconsin Department of Justice's next move. "It calls into question standard interrogation techniques that courts have routinely found permissible, even in cases involving juveniles".
Lawyers have vowed to fight to free Dassey, whose case garnered global attention after featuring in the popular Netflix series. And now it will be up to a Sheboygan County Judge, who's been assigned to the case because the trial judge has retired, to decided whether the motion has any merit.