Monder Law Group - News
US Federal Judge Overturned Murder Conviction of Brendan Dassey Because Confession was Involuntary
Understanding how constitutional rights work is one of the most convoluted part of the criminal justice system. Everything you know about your rights have become more of a subjective idea than objective ideals passed down from our founding fathers. Last Friday, Judge William Duffin stated that the investigators involved in the Dassey back in 2007 were using tactics that are unconstitutional. As lawyers we learned from law school that deception by investigators to obtain a confession is permissible to a certain extent. However, the most important aspect in interpreting the violation of any person’s rights is how reasonable is that behavior from the perspective of the person being questions. As Americans we all are protected by the Bill of Rights and we always have a 5th and 6th Amendment rights against self-incrimination and the right to an attorney at any stage of the criminal process. These federal constitutional rights are handed down to us by the states through the 14th Amendment. It is the state level judges that will ultimately make decisions on whether a confession is voluntary or involuntary under a Federal Constitutional Amendment. However, last Friday a federal judge who is well versed in federal cases took its supremacy power over the state case to rule in favor of the defense. The state prosecutors have 90 days to release Brendan Dassey or re-try his case. As criminal defense attorneys in San Diego we make these arguments every single day to preserve what is left of our constitutional rights. The hardest part is to convince a reasonable person to look at the case from the perspective of an un-educated individual put into an often-stressful environment. Most individuals are dealing with their own internal battles that are completely relevant in determining the reasonableness of their confessions. Here, we have an almost illiterate juvenile completely trusting law enforcement that he had nothing to worry about. Under these circumstances it is almost 100% likely the juvenile would tell these law enforcement officers anything they want to hear in an effort to just go home. Unfortunately, this scenario plays out every single day in the criminal justice system. Everyone knows that you have a right to a fair trial and be silent for any police questioning. However, it is easier said than done. Police often use tactics that are borderline unconstitutional to make the cases easier for the prosecution. If you break down the percentage of people in the criminal justice system that have intellectual deficits and absent support of other adults it is probably more than half of individuals that find themselves making confessions. Most of these people end up taking plea deals and never go to trial because the risk of exposure and losing at trial with a confession outweighs the chances of a trial judge suppressing the evidence. Trial judges never want to be overturned in their decisions but it is unlikely that most defendants take their cases as far as Brendan Dassey. As a criminal defense attorney I can only hope that more people that are wrongfully convicted should not give up fighting their case. Confessions must never be coerced and judges must look at the totality of circumstances such as the age, education, and experiences of the defendant before making some blanket ruling to scare people from going to trial. If you have questions about your criminal case and any statements that were made to local law enforcement, please contact criminal attorney Vik Monder at 619-405-0063. You can learn more about the criminal justice system by going to San Diego Criminal Lawyer .