What Brendan Dassey’s first lawyer just said about his overturned conviction will upset you

You probably heard last week that Brendan Dassey, the 16-year-old cousin of Steven Avery from Netflix’s Making a Murderer series, had his conviction overturned. Federal Judge William Duffin found that Dassey’s constitutional rights had been violated during court proceedings and tossed the conviction.

Part of the reason Dassey’s conviction was thrown out was because his confession to the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach was deemed involuntary—a confession that his former lawyer, Len Kachinsky, helped prosecutors to obtain.


As the judge wrote,

“Kachinsky’s conduct was inexcusable both tactically and ethically. It is one thing for an attorney to point out to a client how deep of a hole the client is in. But to assist the prosecution in digging that hole deeper is an affront to the principles of justice that underlie a defense attorney’s vital role in the adversarial system.”

Throwing your client under the bus like that is obviously a terrible thing to do, but Kachinsky, in an interview with a Milwaukee ABC affiliate about Judge Duffin’s decision, seemed pretty pleased with the way he conducted himself during Dassey’s case.

“In the sense that [the confession] was an instance that I preserved for appeal, before I was off the case, I was … gratified because the fact that that was the basis for magistrate judge Duffin’s decision, it shows that I did my job.”

Say WHAT?!?!?! Judge Duffin clearly condemned Kachinksy’s behavior, and he also moved to end Dassey’s sentence more than 30 years early in part because of Kachinsky’s bad decisions. Not exactly what we’d call a cause for celebration.


In spite of Kachinsky’s absurd remarks, we’re happy to report that unless prosecutors decide to appeal or retry the case, Dassey could be released from prison within 90 days.