Monday, January 04, 2016

"Making a Murderer": Netflix series on Wisconsin case of "pseudo double jeopardy" leads to public outcry

Making a Murderer” is a ten-part series (directed by Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi) made for Netflix (by Synthesis Films) about the conviction, exoneration, and second conviction of Steven Avery in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, north of Milwaukee.

This may be the longest series ever made about a wrongful conviction case, as most are one-episode films.

Avery was convicted in 1985 for assaulting his cousin, and served 18 years in prison.  He was released in 2003 after evidence revealed DNA from more than one person.  Avery brought a lawsuit for wrongful conviction, but at about the time the litigation was to get going, a photographer who was supposed to meet with Avery, Teresa Halbach, was murdered, and Avery was prosecuted for that crime.  Some people think that the state was retaliating for the lawsuit and framing him again. This is certainly an unusual case of a kind of pseudo double jeopardy. I don’t recall of hearing of another one like it.

The narrative suggests that sex among relatives did take place in the extended family, a history that would sound bizarre and hard for most people to believe.

The series gives a lot of attention to the additional conviction of Avery’s nephew Brendan Dassey (analysis on Bustle about a possible false confession and deception by authorities; note the link comparing the case to James Patterson’s novel and movie “Kiss the Girls”(1997) ).

A lot has been written about the cases.  For example, “The Wrap” offers “5 Theories for Steven Avery’s Innocence”.  Pajiba presents “Evidence ‘Making a Murdered’ didn’t present in Steven Avery’s Case”.

Here is Netflix’s official site.

This takes a tremendous time investment for the material (most episodes are slightly over 60 minutes a piece), so I watched episodes 1 and 10.

The series seems to have tremendous popularity, and so far more than 170,000 people call for a pardon of Avery.
Nancy Grace has been very critical of the series on "Access Hollywood" indicating a strong likelihood that Avery is guilty of the second crime, and decrying Netflix's goading a public protest and demand for a pardon.

Picture: Lake Michigan, flying westward toward Milwaukee and Minneapolis (2011).

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