On Friday, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a 2016 ruling that could’ve freed the Wisconsin inmate from prison. The court reinstated Dassey’s murder conviction after reviewing his claims that investigators tricked him into confessing to a crime he didn’t commit. In 2007, Dassey was sentenced to life in prison after telling authorities he and his uncle, Steven Avery, raped and killed photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. He was 16 at the time.
Last year, a federal judged ruled Dassey’s confession was involuntary, as he was manipulated with false promises of leniency. The judge called for Dassey to be released; however, the state of Wisconsin was granted a full review by the U.S. Seventh Circuit of Appeals—resulting in Friday’s decision.
By a 4-to-3 vote, the appellate court ruled that Dassey’s confession was not coerced, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"The state courts’ finding that Dassey's confession was voluntary was not beyond fair debate, but we conclude it was reasonable," their 39-page ruling said.
In a dissenting opinion, Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner wrote: "His confession was not voluntary and his conviction should not stand, and yet an impaired teenager has been sentenced to life in prison. I view this as a profound miscarriage of justice."
Dassey’s legal team might appeal Friday’s decision, taking the fight to the Supreme Court.