Brendan Dassey, who was convicted in 2005 of murdering Teresa Halbach—and who subsequently became one of the main players in the Netflix documentary Making A Murderer—has been granted supervised release by the U.S. District Court in Eastern Wisconsin. As you may recall, Dassey’s original conviction was overturned in August of this year, after overwhelming evidence—some of it seen in the documentary—suggested that his confession was coerced. (It was. You saw it.)
The prosecution was granted a stay in deciding whether it would re-try Dassey; in the meantime, the judge today saw fit to allow Dassey a supervised release until the case is resolved. Notably, Judge William Duffin pointed out the unlikelihood that his August decision would be reversed, given the strength of the evidence: “Dassey remains in custody pursuant to what this court found to be a conviction obtained by way of unconstitutionally obtained evidence,” he says. He also notes that he doesn’t consider Dassey a flight risk, and points out his “benign” record as an inmate. (His infractions include “having items with tape on them” and receiving packets of Ramen noodles from another inmate with permission.)
It seems unlikely given the strength of this language—and, you know, how obvious it is that the confession was coerced and illegal—that the State will choose to re-try Dassey. But, given the unbelievable twists and turns of the case, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising. Steven Avery, Brendan Dassey’s uncle, remains incarcerated for the same crime. One of the conditions of Dassey’s release is that he have no contact with Avery.