Wisconsin man says police coerced his violent crimes confession

Netflix viewers who watch "Making of a Murderer" may be familiar with a particular case that is currently being appealed post-conviction. A 28-year-old man, who was 16 when certain violent crimes were committed, says his confession to those crimes was coerced. Although tried separately, he and his uncle were both convicted and remain in Wisconsin prisons at this time.

The case was the subject of a 10-part series on "Making of a Murderer." The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments regarding a request that it bar use of the confession the young man gave in 2005. Such a request was already denied by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate judges in that instance voted 4-3 to uphold conviction.

A dissenting Court of Appeals judge stated that it is clear the case against the nephew is basically non-existent without the confession. She also said at the time the confession was made, the teenager in question had an IQ in the low 80s. She believes he was extremely low-functioning and was pressured into confessing to the crimes.

The judge also said there are other problems with the confession, most specifically that the amount of police input included violates due process laws. A key factor in getting violent crimes charges dismissed or overturning a guilty verdict based on legal challenge often lies in the type of defense representation a defendant secures before heading to court. An experienced Wisconsin attorney knows how to aggressively combat tactics employed by prosecutors against those being tried.

Source: Reuters, "'Making of a Murderer' case may go to Supreme Court", Feb. 20, 2018

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