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Legal News Roundup: August 19th, 2016

by Missie Frandsen

on 19 August, 2016

Making A Murderer‘s Brenden Dassey’s Conviction Overturned 

Brendan Ray Dassey, of Netflix’s Making A Murderer, is going to be a free man in 90 days. Federal Judge William Duffin ordered Dassey’s release after determining that Dassey’s confession was coerced and his case was mishandled by three state courts.

In 2005, Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were investigated for the assault and murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. Rumor has it that the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department planted evidence as part of a frame up job against Avery in retaliation for an $36 million wrongful conviction lawsuit. Avery was released after serving eighteen years for rape and attempted murder, and deposition had just begun when MCSD  started investigating Avery and Dassey. As Avery’s alibi, seventeen year old Dassey was brought in for questioning during which investigators used controversial techniques to force a confession. Judge Duffin’s decision was based on Dassey’s filmed interrogation; “Especially when the investigators’ promises, assurances, and threats of negative consequences are assessed in conjunction with Dassey’s age, intellectual deficits, lack of experience in dealing with the police, the absence of a parent, and other relevant personal characteristics, the free will of a reasonable person in Dassey’s position would have been overborne. Once considered in the proper light, the conclusion that Dassey’s statement was involuntary under the totality of the circumstances is not one about which ‘fairminded jurists could disagree.'”

Wisconsin’s Attorney General has 90 days to appeal Duffin’s decision, other Dassey is free. Reportedly, the 26-year-old is “overjoyed”, and wants to spend time with his family, eat chili, and watch WrestleMania.

Chiseled Sunfish Ryan Lochte Lands In Legal Trouble

Oh Ryan Lochte, you beautiful and noble land mermaid, how we’ve missed your kooky antics over the years! With your quirky smile, rock-hard abs, magnificently chlorinated hair and robbery accusations, you’re America’s (Rather Dumb) Sweetheart.

Last Sunday, Lochte caused international controversy by claiming that he and two other Olympic swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by Brazilian police officers. Since the announcement of his “traumatic” experience, Lochte’s claims have been largely discredited by Rio police. The American trio weren’t robbed, but confronted by security guards after vandalizing a gas station and forced to pay for the damages. Disgraced, the swimmer’s passports were held by Brazilian authorities until a fine of $10,800 was paid. Lochte apologized for his “description of the robbery”, and his lawyer, Jeffrey Ostrow, states “Lochte knows that he was held up at gunpoint and forced to give up money and that he was robbed. That’s being overshadowed, and it’s unfortunate because people are focusing on other things or relying on what the Brazilians are saying as opposed to taking the time to really analyze that you can kind of see it both ways.”

However, Lochte’s legal struggles are far less interesting than his lissome bod and comically thick head, so let’s digress. Remember that one time Lochte had his own “gloriously terrible” reality show? Esquire certainly does; they’re capitalizing on Locthe’s Olympic and legal fame by announcing a marathon of “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?” circa 2013, right after the London 2012 Olympics. If you missed out on America’s beloved “Sex Idiot” shouting “Jeah! Jeah! Jeah!” and disrobing for Vogue, now is your chance.

Spanish Miranda Rights Warnings blank

The Miranda warning has been around for fifty years, and is so popularized by media that nearly everyone knows it – in English, at least. Now, the American Bar Association wants to create a standardized Spanish translation of the warning.

Over 800,000 native Spanish speakers are taken into custody every year, but there is no official language translation of Miranda, so arrestees don’t always understand their warnings. The warning itself is different across agencies, and officers frequently use inaccurate translations. Cases have included officers mistakenly offering free legal service, or making up words entirely, like “silento” for silent (not a real word, you guys). In the end, statements, arrests, and entire cases have been tossed for these inaccuracies.

At the American Bar Association’s yearly conference this week, a resolution asked attorneys to deliver an official translation and promotional plan, stating “Experience suggests, and case law confirms, that many of the translations used by authorities are inaccurate, courts subsequently exclude statements due to their inaccuracy.” AABA chair of the Special Committee on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities Alex Acosta believes there are a handful of good options for law enforcement. Even if officers don’t speak Spanish, once a translation is agreed upon, universal translation cards or phone apps can do the trick. Fluent Spanish speaker and attorney Anthony Farmer says “This resolution is good for suspects, it’s good for attorneys. It’s good for law enforcement.”