Making a Murderer's Steven Avery got a new lawyer to handle his wrongful conviction case on Friday, January 8.
The law firm of Kathleen T. Zeller and Associates in Downer's Grove, Illinois, announced that it would be taking on Avery's case, which has been the subject of the smash Netflix 10-episode documentary.
The firm will be assisted by Wisconsin counsel Tricia Bushnell, who is the legal director of the Midwest Innocence Project.
"The Zellner Law Firm is looking forward to adding Mr. Avery to its long list of wrongful conviction exonerations," the press release read.
On Thursday, January 7, the White House responded to a petition calling for the release of Avery, 53, who has maintained his innocence since being arrested and convicted for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.
The We the People petition garnered more than 130,000 signatures and called for President Barack Obama to grant pardons to both Avery and his newphew Brendan Dassey for their "wrongful conviction in the connection to the murder of Teresa Halbach."
"A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities," the response read. "While this case is out of the Administration's purview, President Obama is committed to restoring the sense of fairness at the heart of our justice system. Under the constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President. In addition, the President's pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings. However, the President cannot pardon a state criminal offense."
Since both Avery and Dassey are state prisoners, the president lacks authority to grant pardons on their behalf. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has stated that he will not pardon the pair.
Avery is currently serving a life sentence in jail without parole. Meanwhile, Dassey will be eligible for parole in 2048.
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