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250 sign letter supporting Dassey’s petition for clemency

Nearly 250 people sent an open letter to Gov. Tony Evers in support of Brendan Dassey’s petition for executive clemency. The letter was submitted to the governor’s office Thursday and includes signatures from retired U.S. government officials, legal experts and exonerees.

Dassey was 16 years old when he confessed to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape and murder the photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. Their story was documented in the 2015 Netflix series, “Making a Murderer.”

Dassey’s attorneys asked Evers for a pardon or commutation of his life sentence on Oct. 2. The open letter supporting the request stated those who signed it felt “called upon by our conscience to sign this letter.” It goes on to say, “Many of us believe that the process that led to the conviction of this sixteen-year-old special education student was indefensibly flawed, characterized by egregious defense attorney misconduct. And many of us believe that Brendan’s sentence – life in prison, with no chance of parole until 2048 – is wildly inappropriate.”

Among the people who put down their signatures are more than a dozen retired U.S. government officials, including two former U.S. Deputy Attorneys General; 45 current and former state and federal prosecutors; a Catholic nun; the co-founders of the Innocence Project; psychological experts, including the President of the American Psychological Association; and more than two dozen exonerees.

Evers has not said if he’ll pardon Dassey. There is no deadline for him to take such an action.

About Michaela Paukner, mpaukner@wislawjournal.com

Michaela Paukner is the legal reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal. She can be reached at (414) 225-1825 or by email at mpaukner@wislawjournal.com.

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