Why ‘Making a Murderer’ Is Now On Obama’s Agenda
A petition to pardon the subjects of Netflix’s hit series Making a Murderer has surpassed its goal of 100,000 signatures.
The petition asks that President Obama give full pardon to Steven Avery and Brandon Dassey for what the signatories believe to be a wrongful conviction. It reached its goal in less than three weeks and, as per the site’s terms of participation, the White House is required to respond.
The two cousins were convicted of murdering 25-year-old Teresa Halbach in 2005. Avery had previously served 18 years in prison. He was convicted of sexual assault, a crime for which he was exonerated based on DNA evidence, leading to his release in 2003.
Avery’s lawyer argues in the series that Manitowoc County officers framed Avery. He says that authorities so strongly believed he was guilty that they planted evidence to guarantee a conviction. As for Dassey, his lawyer claims that officers coerced a confession out of him.
The petition reads: “Based on the evidence in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, the justice system embarrassingly failed both men, completely ruining their entire lives.” It calls the conviction a “black mark on the justice system.”
Sheriff Robert Hermann told the Hollywood Reporter that the audience has not been told the full story. He says critical evidence was left out of the series, and filmmakers have presented viewers with a skewed version that favors Avery and Dassey.
A separate petition on Change.org addressing Obama and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has collected over 300,000 signatures. Walker’s press secretary told the Huffington Post that the governor would not respond to the petition, reminding the publication that he decided early in his administration not to issue pardons.