Good news and bad news for people who watched Netflix’s true-crime phenomenon Making a Murderer and were moved to take action to free Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, the two men convicted of murdering Teresa Halbach.
THE GOOD: The White House petition has crossed the “100,000 signatures in 30 or fewer days” threshold — easily, for the record, with 115,000 coming in by day 16 — and now requires an official response from the Obama administration. As for exactly what they’ll be responding to, here’s the full text of the petition:
Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey should be given a full pardon by President Obama for their wrongful conviction in the connection to the murder of Teresa Halbach.
Based on the evidence in the Netflix documentary series “Making a Murderer,” the justice system embarrassingly failed both men, completely ruining their entire lives.
There is clear evidence that the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department used improper methods to convict both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
This is a black mark on the justice system as a whole, and should be recognized as such, while also giving these men the ability to live as normal a life as possible.
Which is great, except for one thing…
THE BAD NEWS: As we discussed yesterday, White House petitions like this one are basically useless in Avery and Massey’s case, because President Obama only has the authority to pardon people convicted of federal crimes, and the two men here are in prison on state murder charges. All of which means two things: One, the only person who can pardon them is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has had no desire to do so to date, and does not appear to be developing such a desire in the wake of the documentary. And two, the official White House response to this will probably be something along the lines of a more eloquent and lawyerly version “Uhhhh, sorry, guys.”