On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal by “Making a Murderer” subject Brendan Dassey, who had been fighting his conviction for the murder of Teresa Halbach based on the argument that his confession was taken using coercive methods.
Hours later, Dassey’s former defense attorney, Len Kachinsky, appeared on the Law&Crime Network to discuss the latest developments. Despite having defended Dassey in the past, Kachinsky was not surprised by the Court’s decision. However, he didn’t take issue with it, either.
Host Aaron Keller, who covered Dassey’s case as a local reporter in Wisconsin when Halbach was killed in 2005, asked Kachinsky if he thinks Dassey should get out of jail. Kachinsky replied:
Given the judgment of the court and the laws that we have in this state, and the fact that I think they were faithfully executed I’d have to say no unless he could get a pardon or clemency from the executive branch.
Kachinsky didn’t say whether or not he thinks Dassey is guilty. Kachinsky’s reasoning for defending the Supreme Court’s rejection of Dassey’s case was to say that just because he may disagree with a ruling, that doesn’t make the ruling itself irrational. Based on the video of Dassey’s interview with investigators, Kachinsky said, “You can come to the conclusion that Brendan was rational, responsive, and understood what was going on.”
Kachinsky also took a shot at Dassey’s current legal team, who was representing him during the appeals process. He knocked them for putting forth an argument that you can’t take a confession from a 16-year-old without a trusted adult present.
“That’s never been the law anywhere that I know of,” Kachinsky said, calling it “kind of a novel argument.”
Part of Dassey’s appeal was that his attorney — Kachinsky — did not provide him with effective counsel. Keller said he could defend some of Kachinsky’s actions, but not all, such as allowing Dassey to meet with a police interrogator without a lawyer present.
“That was a mistake,” he said.
Still, he insisted that it didn’t lead to Dassey’s conviction. Kachinky said the interrogation done outside his presence wasn’t used at Dassey’s trial. He further defended himself by noting that he was no longer Dassey’s lawyer by the time the case went to trial. He went on to note that the Wisconsin Court of Appeals found that “nothing I did contributed to Mr. Dassey being convicted and going to jail.”
Kachinsky said that had Dassey taken a plea deal, he would have been released after approximately 20 years.
[Image via screen grab from the Law&Crime Network.]