Attorney for Brendan Dassey of 'Making a Murderer' speaking in MN today


An attorney representing one of the people from the popular Netflix series "Making a Murderer" is in Minnesota Monday.

Laura Nirider, who represents Brendan Dassey, will speak at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in downtown Minneapolis as part of a panel titled "Brendan Dassey: True Story of a False Confession."

It's slated for 5:30-8 p.m. and was open to the public – but is sold out.

Nirider is the project director at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern University School of Law.

She represents Dassey, who at 17 years old was convicted of murder in the 2005 death of Theresa Halbach. Some argue the taped confession he gave to authorities was coerced, and not truthful.

Joining Nirider will be:

  • Perry Moriearty – Vaughan G. Papke clinical professor in law at the University of Minnesota
  • Julie Jonas – legal director of the Minnesota Innocence Project
  • Pete Orput – Washington County Attorney

Nirider will talk about Dassey's interrogation and juvenile false confessions; the entire panel will discuss juvenile justice and the broader issues with it. Michael K. Browne, Fourth Judicial District court judge, will moderate.

Helen Ebert, communications director for the St. Thomas School of Law, told BringMeTheNews the venue will be full, so hoping for a spot late tonight if you haven't bought a ticket isn't an option. Meanwhile the event won't be livestreamed – it will be recorded, and could air at some point on MPR however, Ebert says.

Nirider's work representing Dassey

On Dassey's behalf, Nirider requested in federal court that Dassey – now 26 – be granted a new trial. She argues the way his confession was coerced is unconstitutional, and that a previous pretrial lawyer violated Dassey's constitutional rights (which is discussed in the "Making a Murderer" series).

His uncle, Steven Avery, was also convicted in her death. Avery's defense attorney, Dean Strang, was in Minnesota last month speaking to state lawmakers about the criminal justice process.

Dassey and Avery’s story was highlighted in the 10-episode “Making a Murderer” series, which raised questions about the Wisconsin men's guilt in Halbach's death, and about how law enforcement officials handled the investigation. (For more background on the case, click here.)

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