Laura Nirider on her Making a Murderer Live Event: 'Brendan Dassey is at the root of everything we do'

Laura Nirider on her Inside Making a Murderer Live Event: 'Brendan Dassey is at the root of everything we do'

The lawyer explains why she is touring in the UK, and why the discussion around false confessions must continue

So, you've binge watched Making a Murderer season two. And if you're anything like us, you went back and watched it again just days later, caught up in fits of outrage about justice, inequality and the dangers of the system. If you're looking for an outlet to vent and discuss (beyond Twitter and your friends down the pub), you're in luck. Brendan Dassey's indomitable counsels, Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin, will be appearing live in an in-conversation event, False Confessions: A Conversation with Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin.

For those that haven't watched the series: a brief recap. Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are both currently serving time, following convictions for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Both Avery and Dassey have been appealing their convictions, maintaining their innocence. The second series focused on two different legal battles at play: Avery's fought by Kathleen Zellner, and Dassey's by Nirider and Drizin, who explore in the show the dangers of false confessions.

Though Nirider and Drizin will not discuss Steven Avery, they will be talking about Brendan's case, and using it as a way to explore what is undoubtedly an important issue pertaining to justice.

Speaking about her decision to tour, Nirider says she 'decided to talk to audiences in the United States and in the UK who have learned about the problem of false confessions for the first time through Making a Murderer.' But for Nirider, this problem is far from new. 'This is something that Steve and I have worked on our entire professional lives,' she says.

'It's a problem that we see all over the place. It happens in countries around the world and it's a problem that we're passionate about fixing.'

Nirder says there has been a huge amount of support for Brendan following the show. 'The outrage about the way he was interrogated,' she says. 'The fact that he didn't have a lawyer with him. The fact that he was manipulated. The fact that facts were fed to him during the interrogation. The fact that he asked to go back to school after confessing supposedly to murder. The outrage that people felt – we wanted to give folks an opportunity to continue the conversation and to learn about constructive ways that we can all channel our outrage about what happened to Brendan – and our outrage about false confessions – into something more positive.'

This is their motivation for touring, she says. 'We're seeing changes already. One of the things that most encourages me, is that as we brought Brendan's case through the federal court system, our efforts were joined not only by defence attorneys, or by folks that loved Making a Murderer, but by prosecutors who filed briefs on behalf of Brendan. By law enforcement organisations. Police officers who field briefs on behalf of Brendan, urging the court to throw out his confession. Urging the court to let him go.

'So, that's a really encouraging thing to me. There are important groups out there who are working on developing techniques that minimise the risk of false confessions, and the public energy and motivation to make change has been a big boost to those efforts.'

But ultimately, the focus is always on Brendan and his case. 'Brendan is the foundation of everything we do,' she says. 'We are his lawyers. We are the people that are his voice.

'Brendan is at the root of everything we do, and I suppose metaphorically, part of my goal is to bring Brendan Dassey in the room with me too.'

Inside Making a Murderer: False Confessions is at Queens Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 4 Jan 2019; The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, Sat 5 Jan 2019, 5pm and 8pm.

False Confessions: A Conversation with Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin

Professors of Law Laura Nirider and Steven Drizin discuss season two of the Netflix hit Making a Murderer.

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