Jenner & Block

Firm’s Amicus Brief Challenges Juvenile Interrogation Methods in Dassey Case

Jenner & Block filed an amicus brief with the US Supreme Court in Brendan Dassey v. Michael Dittmann.  Filed on behalf of law enforcement instructors, consultants and specialists in police interrogation practices, the brief asked the Court to address common coercive and unreliable juvenile interrogation techniques like those used against Mr. Dassey.  Then 16 years old, Mr. Dassey was featured in the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.  He was sentenced to life for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.

“This case demonstrates textbook examples of coercive practices that cannot be squared with the Supreme Court’s decisions requiring the use of ‘special care’ in juvenile interrogations,” said Jenner & Block Partner Terri L. Mascherin, lead counsel on the brief.  “The law enforcement experts who we represent believe such coercive tactics tend to lead to unreliable confessions that do not serve the goals of law enforcement.”

Along with Ms. Mascherin, others on the team include PartnersThomas P. Sullivan, Gabriel A. Fuentes and Andrew W. Vail and Associate Skyler J. Silvertrust.

On June 11, 2018, the New York Times featured the case in an article, “Was It a False Confession in ‘Making a Murderer’? The Supreme Court May Decide,” which notes that the Court is expected to decide on June 14 whether to hear Mr. Dassey’s case.