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US appeals court agrees to reconsider ‘Making a Murderer’ conviction

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A U.S. appeals court in Chicago on Friday agreed to reconsider the decision of a federal judge who overturned the homicide conviction of a Wisconsin man serving a life sentence in a case chronicled in the Netflix television documentary “Making of a Murderer.”

A federal magistrate, William Duffin, threw out the guilty verdict against Brendan Dassey last August, ruling the conviction was based on a coerced confession that the defendant, now 27, gave as a 16-year-old youth with a learning disability.

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A three-judge panel of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Duffin’s decision in June, setting the stage for his release. But Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel appealed, asking for an “en banc” re-hearing of the case by the full 12-member circuit court.

The 7th Circuit on Friday granted that request, vacating the earlier decision of its three-judge panel and setting a new round of oral arguments to be heard on Sept. 26.

At issue is the habeas petition filed by Dassey seeking to reverse the 2007 state court jury verdict that found him guilty at age 17 of first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault and mutilation of a corpse.

Dassey and his uncle, Steven Avery, were convicted in separate trials of killing freelance photographer Teresa Halbach at Avery’s home and scrap yard in 2005. Her charred remains were found in an incineration barrel and a burn pit on Avery’s property, about 80 miles (130 km) north of Milwaukee.

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Both were sentenced to life in prison.

The case was the subject of a 10-part documentary, “Making a Murderer,” which questioned the handling of the investigation and the motives of Manitowoc County law enforcement officials.

The documentary recounted how Avery was convicted of an earlier, unrelated rape and sent to prison in 1985, serving 18 years before DNA evidence exonerated him, and he was released.

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He filed a $36 million federal lawsuit against the county, its former sheriff and district attorney in 2004. A year later, he and Dassey were accused of killing Halbach.

The Emmy-winning documentary suggested authorities planted evidence against both defendants, a claim rejected by the current sheriff.

Netflix said last year that a second season of “Making a Murderer,” chronicling the latest developments in the case, was in production.

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(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Diane Craft)

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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‘He’s empty’: Psychiatrist warns Trump is in a ‘psychotic-like state’

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Dr. Lance Dodes warned that things were going to get worse under President Donald Trump in 2017. That's precisely what happened.

"Is that what we're seeing this week?" MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell ased the psychiatrist.

"Absolutely. Donald Trump, because he has a fundamental need to be all-powerful and all loved, can't stand challenges," Dr. Dodes said. "And the nature of democracy is that it challenges people. We have more than one opinion. So the more -- it was predictable once he got into a position where people would challenge him, there are two parties, he would become more unhinged.

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Elementary school cheer squad parents raffling off an AM-15 automatic weapon as a fundraiser

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Just weeks after a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio killed nine people, only 200 miles away in Richmond, the cheer squad is selling raffle tickets to sell a semi-automatic gun.

Fox19 reported Wednesday that the Junior Lions Cheer Team have infuriated Heather Chilton, who's 7-year-old daughter is on the squad for the first time.

"This is absurd, you're having elementary kids sell your AR-15. Why?" Chilton said. "I highly doubt that something would happen with the gun, but say it did. Say one of the kids in the high school got a hold of it — got the AR-15 or AM-15 and shot up a school with it, and I'm the one that sold the raffle ticket to his dad?"

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I think Trump’s people sit around ‘thinking up new ways to be cruel’: Senator

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On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "All In," Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) tore into the Trump administration for its treatment of migrant children, as yet more reports come in of children being denied basic services in squalid conditions, and as Trump considers ways to get around the federal consent decree placing limits on how long they can be detained.

"We already know from so many child specialists that detaining children in these kinds of facilities does irreparable damage to them," said Hirono. "There are alternatives to family detention this administration could care less about ... the only way to get around the consent agreement is by getting around it by proposing or having this rule, which will be immediately challenged. They want to detain families indefinitely, children indefinitely, held in situations that do them absolutely no good when there are alternatives."

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