Special Edition Un‑making A Murderer, Exclusive interview with Brendan Dassey and Laura Nirider

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This special edition of ​ Wrongful Conviction ​ features Jason Flom's exclusive interview with Brendan Dassey from behind bars—the only interview ever conducted with Brendan. The case against Brendan, and his uncle Steven Avery, is the subject of Netflix's hit series ​ Making a Murderer. In 2006, 16 year old Wisconsin special education student Brendan Dassey gave a videotaped confession to the murder and sexual assault of a young woman named Teresa Halbach. That confession – extracted from Brendan after four interrogations over a 48 hour period – has been widely recognized as false and coerced due to Brendan's inability to describe the crime accurately without being told the "right" answers by his interrogators. In fact, Brendan recanted his confession immediately, and no evidence connects him to Halbach's disappearance. Nonetheless, he was convicted based on that confession and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole before 2048. In 2016, two courts threw out Brendan's confession and overturned his conviction – and Brendan came within twelve hours of release – before a federal appeals court reversed course on legal grounds. After visiting Brendan in prison, Jason Flom and Brendan's attorney, Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, unravel the case as Brendan joins them by phone from behind bars. Their conversation touches on hope, resilience, and the fact that Brendan – who will turn 30 on October 19, 2019 – has already lost fourteen years of his life to wrongful imprisonment.

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Interview About Clemency for Brendan on Madison Radio Station WORT.

Exhibits for Dassey's Clemency Petition

Court Transcripts, Filings, and Orders

Interview Transcripts

Pretrial Records Relating to Kachinsky, O'Kelly, and Kratz

Educational, Psychological, Prison, and Social Work Records

Confession Resources

Clemency and Juvenile Life Sentence Resources


Steven Drizin is a Clinical Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law where he has been on the faculty since 1991. He served as the Legal Director of the Clinic's renowned Center on Wrongful Convictions from March 2005 to September 2013. At the Center, Professor Drizin's research interests involve the study of false confessions and his policy work focuses on supporting efforts around the country to require law enforcement agencies to electronically record custodial interrogations.

Laura Nirider is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law and Project Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Nirider represents individuals who were wrongfully convicted of crimes when they were children or teenagers. Her clients have included Brendan Dassey, whose case was profiled in the Netflix Global series Making a Murderer, and Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three, whose case was profiled in the documentary West of Memphis.

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