Supreme Court Rejects 'Making a Murderer' Subject Brendan Dassey's Case

Brendan Dassey is escorted out of a Manitowoc County Circuit courtroom

Gay couple Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed chose to sue Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene's Flowers in Richland, Washington, when she refused to provide flowers for their 2013 wedding.

Far-right religious legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, who also represented Phillips (below, with Stutzman), accused Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who filed a case on behalf of the couple, of pursuing "unprecedented measures to punish Barronelle not just in her capacity as a business owner but also in her personal capacity", the Associated Press reports. But she declined to sell to him for a same-sex wedding, arguing that would amount to her putting her imprimatur on the ceremony, which would violate her religious beliefs.

Both Washington and the couple sued, and state courts ruled that she violated laws forbidding businesses to discriminate on the basis of several factors including sexual orientation. Her lawyer, Kristen Waggoner of the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, called her "an artist with a conscience who can not separate her artistic creativity from her soul".

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She said the Washington attorney general "has always ignored that part of my case, choosing to vilify me and my faith, instead of respecting my religious beliefs about marriage". You can read the state Supreme Court ruling here at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) website (the ACLU is supporting the state, not the florist).

Wisconsin officials had urged the Supreme Court not to take the case, telling the court it shouldn't second-guess Wisconsin courts' determination that Dassey's confession was voluntary.

A three-judge panel of the Chicago-based 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals initially upheld the judge's ruling, but in a rehearing requested by state prosecutors, the 7th Circuit ruled against Dassey. When they ruled in favor of the baker, Jack Phillips, they largely tailored their opinion to the specifics of his case.

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Since the Masterpiece ruling happened after the Washington Supreme Court had already heard Stutzman's case, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the best course of action would be to send the case back to the lower court and give it a chance to rule in light of the new precedent. She was hit with a $1,000 fine and directed to make floral arrangements for same-sex weddings if she does so for opposite-sex weddings.

Waggoner said Stutzman had sold the customer, Rob Ingersoll, flowers for almost a decade and knew he was gay, but that his marriage did not comport with her beliefs and she could not provide services for it. "The Supreme Court in our state ruled 9-0 that was a pretty straightforward application of the law", said Ferguson, earlier this year.

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