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Attorneys for Brendan Dassey Announce
Petition for Clemency Filed with Governor Tony Evers


On Wednesday, October 2, 2019, lawyers for Brendan Dassey filed a petition for executive clemency with the Office of Governor Tony Evers. The petition asks Governor Evers to consider both a pardon, which would result in Brendan’s immediate release and the restoration of some of his legal rights, and a commutation, which could result in his immediate release or shorten his sentence and would leave the convictions intact. 


Grounds for clemency include both Brendan’s innocence and the extreme length of his sentence.

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Brendan Dassey’s Legal Team
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Steven Drizin
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 Laura Nirider
Interrogation Videos

These clips lay out the narrative arc of the interrogation and it is recommended that they are viewed in the following order:

  1. False evidence ploy

  2. Threats and promises

  3. Exploitation of parental dynamic

  4. Contamination

  5. Aftermath



Under the Hood: Brendan Dassey, Language Impairments, and Judicial Ignorance

Michele LaVigne and Dr. Sally Miles | University of Wisconsin Law School


The co-authors of this study, a clinical law professor and a speech-language pathologist, conducted an under-the-hood analysis of Brendan Dassey’s language and communication skills as well as the communication of law enforcement. The two suspected that Brendan suffered from a language impairment (disabling deficiencies in oral language competency), and were right. The court file contained school records and assessments that placed Brendan’s language and communication skills in the lowest percentile of all sixteen-year-olds. This impairment had a profound impact on all aspects of Brendan’s functioning.


The other part of the equation was more complicated but equally revealing. With the assistance of a language transcription company, law enforcement communication - and how that communication would affect someone like Brendan - was closely analyzed. The results were alarming. Almost everything the two officers did in the course of interrogating Brendan violated the most minimal standards for interviewing any juvenile, but especially one with underdeveloped language and communication skills. By the time the review was finished, the authors were confident that the verbal behavior of law enforcement throughout the interrogations of Brendan, coupled with his poor ability to linguistically cope and his age, made him a prime candidate for unwillingly—and unwittingly—confessing to a crime he did not commit.


This article describes the findings of this research. It shows how law enforcement essentially abused Brendan with a chaotic mess of verbiage. And how, up against such a relentless verbal torrent, Brendan never stood a chance. The article also analyzes the myriad ways that the courts were simply wrong in their assumptions about Brendan, communication, and human behavior.


Innocent Juvenile Confessions: Seth Waxman’s Keynote Address at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 2019 Symposium 

Seth Waxman, former United States Solicitor General and one of the attorneys for Brendan Dassey 


Brendan Dassey’s Artwork


Photos of Brendan Dassey


Clips from the first-ever interview with Brendan Dassey are accessible via Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom:

Interested members of the public are encouraged to visit to learn more about Brendan’s story and to explore ways to support his efforts to return home.

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