Revisiting a Murderer – When the law gets it wrong


Steven Avery. It is a name that it seems the whole world is now starkly familiar with. The Wisconsin man who was wrongly accused of attacking a young girl and imprisoned, only to be freed twenty years later when new DNA evidence technology proved that it was not in fact he that was responsible for the gruesome crime. After his release, Avery filed to sue the police department that put him behind bars for a crime he did not commit. Before he received his (deserved) pay out, however, he found himself as the accused for yet another time. In 2005, Teresa Halbach, a young photographer who visited the Avery property to photograph a vehicle for a magazine she worked for at the time, went missing. Traces of her body and compelling evidence was found on the Avery property that suggested that Avery was the killer. To make matters considerably worse, the police coerced Avery’s young nephew, Brendan Dassey, into confessing to the crime as well.

The docuseries is a brilliantly curated exploration of the ten years following Halbach’s murder, and the impact those years have had on the accused. The US legal system is arguably one of the best in the world, but this case drew in millions upon millions of viewers the world over, all of which found themselves teetering between believing Avery to be guilty, and then believing him to be innocent. The whole world views a legal proceeding very seriously – which is why one should hire the best from a firm such as Lawsuit Legal. Mistakes will be made, errors drawn from a bucket. Ultimately, however, the one thing that cannot be denied is that, at least once before, Avery has been the unfortunate victim of an unusual but severe falter in the law system.

Around the world, there are differing laws in place that serve as social and economic guidelines for the behaviour of citizens. The series surrounding Avery’s case is a visual exploration of what happens when the law fails the people. The Netflix series Making a Murderer made headlines around the world and captured the attention of millions of viewers, and now the craze is sweeping the world again with the release of Making a Murderer, Part 2. The Netflix docuseries that first hit screens around the world in 2015 (ten years after the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach), and now has come back for seconds, is a stark exploration of the consequences when a potentially innocent man is failed by the US law system.

Chicago lawyer Kathleen Zellner currently represents Avery as his post-conviction lawyer, and she is of the firm belief that the legal system is not necessarily broken, but at the very least it is fractured in some respects, and must be corrected. While the second instalment of the Netflix real crime series airs on screens around the world, Zellner has been preparing for the response for some time now. Hailed as the lawyer with the most wins in wrongful conviction cases in the whole of the United States, Zellner insists to this day that she knows that Avery is innocent. Rather than grasping at straws (as Zellner insists Avery’s defence attorneys did when they accused the police department of planting blood in the car on Avery’s property after Halbach’s murder), the lawyer has instead spent many months tirelessly compiling her own set of tests and re-enactments.

Zellner’s primary goal with this approach was to poke holes in the evidence that she says was misrepresented in the courtroom. Over eighteen months, Zellner re-enacted how the prosecution said the crime was carried out. The lawyer tested each claim against her own forensic claims. Over the curse of her own reconstructions and forensic analysis’, Zellner came to the conclusion that Avery was undoubtedly (and again) innocent of the crime he is accused of. The difficulty of her job as Avery’s post-conviction lawyer cannot be understated – once the prison doors slam shut, the US system can fall into disrepair because the standard to overturn final verdicts and convictions is so high. If Avery is innocent, as Zellner insists he is, then this is the second time in the poor man’s life that he has found himself at the mercy of a law system that, seemingly, could not care less about the truth. If Avery is guilty, then the failure is not the law system’s, but his own. This is a case that has shaken not only the US law system to its very core, but the whole world as they have watched, unsure of their own assumptions and unsure of their own faith in the law system.

As one of the rawest, most insightful true crime series of the modern world, Avery’s story is yet again capturing the attention of millions of people the world over, causing people to once again question the essence of the legal system: is Avery’s story a harrowing tale of two innocent men behind bars, or is it a tale of a murderer who demoralised and dehumanised a young woman, and has made himself famous off a well-scaled lie? Regardless of which side of the argument one aligns themselves with, one thing is for certain: the story of Steven Avery is etched into the minds of most of the world today, causing us all to question the law system, in all its forms.

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