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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, June 13, 2024

Two hundred fifty legal experts ask Gov. Tony Evers to grant Making a Murderers’ Brendan Dassey’s petition for clemency, testifying to Dassey’s wrongful conviction, lengthy sentence and coerced confession. 

Evers receives open letter from legal experts supporting Dassey’s clemency

Two hundred fifty legal experts, state and federal prosecutors, exonerees, government officials and others affiliated with juvenile justice signed an open letter to Gov. Tony Evers Monday petitioning on behalf of Brendan Dassey’s request for clemency and pardon. 

The letter contains testimony about Dassey’s “kind” and “optimistic” demeanor and alludes to his innocence and coerced confession.

“We call upon you, Governor Evers, to use your sovereign power of executive clemency, whether in the form of a pardon or a commutation, to end the incarceration of Brendan Dassey,” the letter states. “You are an educator; you are a reformer; and you are a believer, like us, in justice, mercy and redemption.”

One of Dassey’s attorneys, Laura Nirdier, who is also the co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, believes it is a matter of “conscience and decency” for Evers to grant the application. 

“Brendan’s case is so much more than just a Netflix series,” Nirdier said in a press release. “From former senators to formerly incarcerated individuals, Brendan’s plea for help has been backed by an authoritative coalition of expert voices.” 

Dassey and Nirdier are featured in the 40-minute interview, “Special Edition Un-making a Murderer,” posted on the Wrongful Conviction podcast website Oct. 2. It accompanies a petition of signatures sent to Evers asking for Dassey’s clemency, public access links to his court and interview transcripts, social history records and statements regarding his wrongful conviction.  

Over 15,000 people from around the world signed the petition, which can also be found on Kim Kardashian West also supported Dassey’s release over Twitter by sharing his letter to the Governor. 

Brendan Dassey, who is most known for his feature in the Netflix docu-series, Making a Murderer, was incarcerated at age 16, and has now served 15 years in prison. His attorneys’ recently filed his clemency petition, despite an eight-year dry spell of commutations in the state. 

Coincidentally or not, Evers sent out his first four pardons just a week after Dassey’s plea hit mass media. However, these were to people who were no longer incarcerated, creating no change in the length of their sentencing or time served. 

Evers reinstated the Pardon Advisory Board in June, and maintains his administration will not treat Dassey’s request differently than the other applicants. 

Currently, Dassey will be eligible to testify for his release in front of a parole board in 2048. 

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