The White House petition to grant Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey "a full pardon by President Obama for their wrongful conviction in the connection to the murder of Teresa Halbach" has reached its goal of more than 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House will now have to issue a formal response. However what the response will probably entail is that the Department of Justice clearly states pardons cannot be granted for state criminal offenses, so there's nothing President Obama can actually do so at this point.
An additional change.org petition has reached more than 309,000 signatures and has reset its goal to 500,000.
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Shortly after Netflix dumped its documentary series Making a Murderer online on Dec. 18, discussion about the failure of the criminal justice system in handling the case of its subject became a hotly debated issue. So contested was the mishandling and possible tampering with his case that former DA prosecutor and reviled sexter Ken Kratz has reported receiving death threats. Now viewers have requested a presidential pardon on the presumption that the series subject is being wrongfully imprisoned.
Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man currently serving a life sentence without parole for the murder of Teresa Halbach, had previously served 18 years in prison for a sexual assault he did not commit. When DNA testing confirmed the identity of the actual rapist nearly two decades later, Avery was exonerated. But just two years later, Manitowoc County police tied him to Halbach's case and doubled down on Avery's previous criminal history, painting him as vicious man with ill intent. Despite horrific breaches of police conduct and possible tampering of evidence explored by the series, Avery was convicted and has since exhausted his appeals.
The Change.org petition, started by Colorado resident Michael Seyedian, cites malpractice and failure by criminal investigators to provide Avery with a fair trial. It states:
There is a documentary series on Netflix called "Making a Murderer". After viewing it, I am outraged with the injustices which have been allowed to compound and left unchecked in the case of Steven Avery of Manitowoc County in Wisconsin, U.S.A. Avery's unconstitutional mistreatment at the hands of corrupt local law enforcement is completely unacceptable and is an abomination of due process.
Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by presidential pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonment should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems.
The petition has reached 120,000 signatures of its 150,000 goal in just a couple of weeks. As Time reports, an additional 18,000 signatures have been added to a similar White House petition. If the latter reaches its goal of 100,000 signatures, the White House must address the matter publicly.