Netflix Series Review ~ Making a Murderer

Netflix Series Review ~ Making a Murderer

Netflix Series Review ~ Making a Murderer

This isn’t a post rehashing the probable guilt or innocence of anyone. It is a commentary on the justice system highlighted by the series.

After viewing the new much-talked-about video series on Netflix, Making a Murderer, surrounding the Wisconsin case of Steven Avery, I scoured the internet for all the prosecution facts that were said to be left out of the story. What I found were a few facts I didn’t hear in the series, and others that were included, but maybe not presented in the way the prosecutor wanted them presented. However, the new things I learned outside the series did nothing to dispel my disgust at what I did see that was conveyed in context through the use of deposition video, court video, and police interrogation video.

Steven Avery, the moment he heard his guilty verdict in the murder trial
Steven Avery, the moment he heard his guilty verdict in the murder trial

Now that the prosecutor has started making the rounds on TV news shows I find it interesting that his strongest argument is to point to what wasn’t shown in the series. He does nothing to combat the horrible impression left by the rest of the evidence, or attempt to explain the glaring absence of evidence that would support his theory of the case.

I won’t pretend to know every relevant detail of these cases, or go so far as to assert Steven Avery’s innocence. But the damage done to our justice system is real and the cut is deep. Whether or not Avery, or his nephew Brendan Dassey, committed this crime is actually not as important as the integrity of the system. The government must always be held to the same standard in building its case – it is not lowered when we think the guy is guilty. The government must never engage in deceitful, unfair, or prejudicial behavior no matter how unsavory and unlikable the defendant. The government must always prove its case, and the methods by which it does must never be allowed to be tainted by even the perception of, much less actual, improper behavior.

From what I can see, no one is disputing the truth of what was included in the series, and those facts alone are enough to conclude that the government abused its power.

I believe this to my core:

Better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

-Sir William Blackstone 1765

Many think even if there were abuses, it doesn’t matter because Steven Avery is guilty anyway. If you don’t think it’s that big of a deal, imagine if you or a loved one is that innocent person when the government is allowed to skirt the rules. Now that would be harsh.

Call out government overreach and abuse of the system everywhere and every time you see it.

UPDATE: Friday, January 8, 2016, 9:20 EST:

I am seeing a new response to Avery’s situation: “Let the appeals process work.” Are you forgetting the only reason we know about Avery at all is because he was wrongly convicted and spent 18 years in jail? No appeal helped him then despite the dearth of evidence and some very questionable tactics used in the investigation. It was new evidence through DNA technology that finally set the system right.

Appeals are not retrials. Appellate courts have very limited ability to review what happened at trial, and actually evaluating the evidence is almost taboo. Appellate courts are loathe to overturn jury verdicts (power to the jury), so being successful in an appeal based on a sufficiency of the evidence argument is a very long shot. Therefore we need to be concerned with what happens at trial. Once convicted, the chances of righting wrongs becomes infinitely more difficult.

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