One of the lawyers who became famous following the Netflix documentary "Making a Murderer" is celebrating Friday following a federal court decision to overturn Brendan Dassey's conviction.
Jerry Buting defended Dassey's uncle, Steven Avery, in his murder trial, along with co-counsel Dean Strang.
Avery was tried and convicted separately in the homicide of photographer Teresa Halbach, and both Avery and Dassey are serving separate life sentences.
According to Friday's ruling, Dassey must be "released from custody unless, within 90 days of the date of this decision, the State initiates proceeding to retry him."
Buting told TODAY'S TMJ4 it was the right decision.
"I'm obviously very gratified, and frankly, not surprised. I have been waiting for this decision for a long time, even long before 'Making A Murderer,'" Buting said.
Buting said that up until the last week of Avery's 2005 trial, he wasn't sure if Dassey would be called as a witness for the state in the case.
"So I knew he couldn't tell a consistent story from one time to the next because he is telling something that didn't happen," Buting said.
Dassey's current attorney, Robert Dvorak, said he's "relieved and grateful."
He says a change in the law right before Halbach's murder is what made the difference for his client.
"The deciding factor was a change in the law that happened fairly recently that requires confessions to be recorded," Dvorak said.
Dassey confessed to helping Avery carry out the rape and murder of Halbach, but attorneys argued that his constitutional rights were violated throughout the investigation.
So how will the ruling Dassey's case affect Avery's? Buting says he doesn't represent Avery right now, and that it's up to his new attorneys to decide if and how they will use this decision.
"The state will probably argue, 'we never used Brendan's confession in Steven's case, well it should not matter at all.' But they did use Brendan's so-called confession in the press conference that the special prosecutor called," Buting said.
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Buting says they used the confession to pollute the jury pool statewide when they knew when "they were saying it that there was no evidence to support it."
"They used the confession of Brendan Dassey in order to pollute the jury, so that in Steven's case 129 of 130 jury questionnaires that came back the people we had to pick a jury from, all but one of them said we think that Steven Avery is guilty," Buting said.
Both lawyer's hope the case will not be appealed and Dassey will be released from prison. Dassey's attorney says Brandan was 16 years old with mental limitations and just wanted to appease law enforcement when he confessed.
"He is what makes this case so sad. His age, his disposition to be put in this mess, it's all very sad," Dvorak said.
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