In search of justice. Just two weeks after Netflix debuted its latest original series, crime documentary Making a Murderer, two petitions calling for the pardon of the convicted subjects have gathered more than 122,000 signatures online.
The petitions, hosted on the official White House petition website and on Change.org, request that Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, both be pardoned — and hence exonerated from their crimes — based on the series of events surrounding their arrest, as documented in the Netflix show, which premiered December 18.
At present, the White House’s official petition site has gathered 18,000 signatures, and Change.org has pulled in more than 105,000.
Making a Murderer follows the story of Avery, a Wisconsin man who was accused of sexually assaulting and murdering a young photographer, Teresa Halbach, in 2005. Dassey was imprisoned for being a party to the murder and sexual assault.
What the 10-part documentary series reveals, however, is that Avery was actually released from prison in 2003 after being exonerated for sexual assault charges. At that point, he had already served 18 years.
The same police force that was involved in the 2003 case was then heavily involved with the 2005 case, which might have affected the dynamics and outcome of the case.
In the Change.org petition, titled “Free Steven Avery,” supporters make it clear that they believe Avery has been wrongly sentenced.
“Avery’s unconstitutional mistreatment at the hands of corrupt local law enforcement is completely unacceptable and is an abomination of due process,” the petition reads. “Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by presidential pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems.”
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