“Making A Murderer” Boy’s Conviction Overturned on Appeal
Justice has been served on appeal. In overturning the conviction of the boy convicted of helping his uncle kill a woman in a murder case examined in the “Making a Murderer” Netflix series, a federal magistrate judge held the conduct of the boy’s defense attorney, Mr. Kachinsky, was “inexcusable both tactically and ethically.” Ultimately, it was the coercive interrogations that the judge hung his hat on, however.
Prosecutors have 90 days to initiate proceedings to retry him, if they want to.
Avery, the boy’s uncle, spent 18 years in prison before being released for his wrongful conviction of rape. Avery had a wrongful conviction case pending at the time of the murder, and many have argued this provided a motive for the police to plant evidence in retaliation.
The court held that the repeated false promises made during interrogations of Dassey, “when considered in conjunction with all relevant factors, most especially Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, and the absence of a supportive adult, rendered Dassey’s confession involuntary under the Fifth and 14th amendments.”
Investigators told Dassey they were on his side and already knew details of the crime, but wanted information from him. “I will not [leave] you high and dry,” one investigator said. “I’ll stand behind you.” When the investigators asked Dassey what was bothering him, he said, “Trying to find a girlfriend.”
Dassey told Kachinsky that the allegations against him weren’t true and he wanted to take a lie detector to prove his innocence, but Kachinsky told local media that Dassey was sad, remorseful, and overwhelmed. He blamed Avery for leading him the boy down the criminal path, and also said a plea deal had not been ruled out.
Years later, Kachinsky would contend that his statements to the media were to get Dassey and his family accustomed to the idea of a plea deal. But perhaps most putrid of all, on the Nancy Grace show, Kachinsky said that if Dassey’s recorded statement was accurate and admissible, “there is, quite frankly, no defense.” The court emphasized that while Kachinsky spent about one hour with Dassey, he spent at least 10 hours with the press.
In the end, the case did not turn on Kachinsky’s disgusting and vomit-provoking tactics, but upon the obscene interrogations of the boy, as we all saw in the Netflix series.
We think the court said it best: “[T]o assist the prosecution in digging that hole deeper is an affront to the principles of justice that underlie a defense attorney’s vital role in the adversarial system.”
But get this, even the boy’s lawyers on appeal argued Kachinsky had a conflict of interest, rather than arguing his representation violated the right to effective counsel. It is my opinion that this act was exponentially more atrocious than Kachinsky’s actions. Luckily, the court did all the lawyering for them.
Here’s what Kachinsky had to say after the reversal:
“Magistrate Judge Duffin reversed Dassey’s conviction on the suppression issue I litigated before leaving the case,” Kachinsky said. “I preserved that issue for appeal so that his future attorneys might raise it like they did. Even though Dassey and I parted ways on how he should proceed, I did my job and enabled Dassey’s future attorneys to do theirs. The next step will probably be up to the 7th Circuit as the state will likely appeal.”
Can you believe this guy?!! It’s my opinion that for even expressing this opinion, he should be summarily disbarred.
Patrick Santos is an appeals attorney who conducts post-conviction criminal appeals in California. Call today for a free consultation at (310) 424-3050. Don’t get stuck with a Kachinsky, call today.