POST: "‘Making a Murderer’ Defense Attorney on Broken Justice System," by Crystin Immel, published by 'Chicago Tonight' on March 20, 2017.
GIST: "On Feb. 14, a federal appeals court in Chicago heard arguments in the appeal of Brendan Dassey. Dassey and his uncle Steven Avery have been serving life sentences since 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Their trials were seen by millions in the 10-part Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer.” Avery has a new lawyer from Chicago who is looking into fresh scientific testing to overturn his conviction. Meanwhile, a new book by Jerry Buting, Avery’s former defense attorney, goes inside their cases and others like them to examine the criminal justice system, which he says is badly in need of reforms. “What happened to Avery is not unique,” said Buting. His book is called “Illusion of Justice: Inside ‘Making a Murderer’ and America’s Broken System.” Buting joins host Phil Ponce to discuss the cases and book....In contrast with Avery and the evidence the prosecution presented, with Dassey’s case it was all his confession – no DNA evidence. You didn’t represent Dassey in his trial, but what do you see wrong when you watch his confession?
JB..."Oh, there’s just an abundance of things. And that’s largely because, his confession is not at all unusual, I’ve seen many, many, many like that. It’s a technique that’s used almost universally by American law enforcement called the Reid technique. And the problem with it is that it’s based on 1950s behavioral science myths really that have been disproven by later studies. One of which is that somehow police officers are able to tell who’s telling the truth better than the ordinary person, like they’re human lie detectors, and they’re really not, study after study have shown that not to be the case. Because what this technique does is that it says well once the police officers decide that the person is not telling the truth, the interview then becomes an interrogation and different rules kick in.
So at that point, they will accept no more denials--doesn’t matter how many times a person denies--they will lie to suspects, they will lie to them about the evidence they have, they’ll use all kinds of other techniques, like in Brendan’s case, saying almost good cop/bad cop things where they’re pretending to be a false friend of his saying“I know we’re police officers, but not right now, I’m really a father with a 16 year old son the same as you. And I care about you and I want to help you. We’ll go to bat for you. And everything’s going to be all right for you.” And all these other reassurances over and over and over coupled with statements that “We know what happened, we just have to hear it from you.” And whenever he doesn’t say what they “know” what happened then they correct him and so they’re teaching him “no that’s not right, tell us the truth we know what happened, tell us.” And every time that he guesses at something that’s wrong, they’ll say no so then he has to come up with another guess. And these techniques are risky against people that are vulnerable or very young or mentally limited and easily suggested. They’re also telling him “we’ll go to bat for you and we know he’s the bad guy: Steven Avery, and you can make it look however you want.” So they’re basically giving him carte blanche to just make something up. Then later, they start feeding him facts about something happened to her head, over and over he’s just guessing about what that is. And he can’t say what they want him to say, which is the information that was not yet public which is to say that she was shot in the head. And they can’t get him to say that, he keeps guessing and saying something that seems to be involved with the head, but isn’t what they want so they finally come out with it “who shot her in the head.” Thereby disclosing the information. So, the problem then with Brendan’s confession is not just whether or not he was coerced but also whether or not the technique of feeding facts to him created a statement that just simply wasn’t true and was based on their own theories."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/