Good news! The petition directed at President Obama to pardon Making A Murderer subjects Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey has grown to over 275,000 signatures, 75,000 more since we checked in on it last. The bad news: it’s not going to do much good as Obama doesn’t actually have the power to pardon the two men.
It boils down to the fact that Avery and Dassey were convicted of state crimes, and the president can only pardon criminals with federal convictions. What’s worse, the guy with the power to pardon crimes in this case is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who has a long standing policy of not pardoning anyone. That makes all of these pardon petitions basically useless, except as another indicator America considers this case a serious injustice.
The Netflix documentary series posits that Avery was framed for the murder of Teresa Halbach after a lawsuit over his 18-year wrongful conviction began to gain steam. Along the way, detectives dragged an outlandish false confession out of his developmentally challenged 16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey to back up their case. Both were found guilty, with Avery locked away for life and Dassey only eligible for parole in 2048.
On a depressing plus side, that’s long enough to guarantee Gov. Walker will eventually no longer be governor and maybe the next guy can pardon Avery and Dassey. That makes it an even longer shot than before, made more so by society’s short attention span. Will this still be a hot button topic in 2018 when the next gubernatorial elections are held? Would another governor even be willing to pardon two convicted murderers considering the horrific crimes they were found guilty of?
As Avery’s lawyers said at the end of the series, the last best hope for his freedom is the development of a test that could detect EDTA in blood found at the scene of the crime. EDTA is the additive that kept old police samples of Avery’s blood from coagulating. If EDTA was detected in the blood found in Teresa Halbach’s vehicle, it would prove the police did plant it and blow the case wide open.