'Making A Murderer' defence lawyers say miscarriages of justice are common in the US
They also say Brendan Dassey's scenario happens all too often
Netflix PR Damian Jones, 20th April 2016 The defence lawyers for Steven Avery, the subject of the recent Making A Murderer true crime documentary series, claim miscarriages of justice in similar cases is very common in the US.
Avery and nephew Brendan Dassey are serving life sentences for the murder of Theresa Halbach in 2005, having been convicted in 2007. Making A Murderer pays particular attention to perceived injustices in the case.
Jerry Buting, who formed Avery's defence alongside Dean Strang, spoke to Rolling Stone and revealed that Avery's case is just the tip of the iceberg
“A lot of the elements that you see – the police misconduct, the prosecutorial misconduct – are unfortunately not uncommon in many cases.” he said.
“When you look at the DNA exoneration cases that they’ve gone back and studied, a certain percentage of them have false confessions [20 percent], a certain percentage of them have false eyewitness identifications, a certain percentage have prosecutorial misconduct, but some of them have bits of each. So some of them have a perfect storm of their own, they just don’t also have the scenario where somebody has been exonerated and is suing the very people who are then prosecuting him again."
Strang added: “But you know what really is common? Brendan Dassey’s experience. Young, naïve, learning disabilities, developmental delays, very manipulative police interview techniques that completely mismatch the person in custody. That’s very common.”
The series showed Dassey being interrogated by police officers and appearing to be forced to make a confession of events they put to him.
Meanwhile, Avery's current lawyer Kathleen Zellner recently said that she has new evidence she believes will exonerate the man made famous by the Netflix documentary.
Zellner also plans to argue ineffective assistance of counsel as part of her bid to have his conviction overturned.
But Strang and Buting defended her actions, claiming that is the only way for her to appeal the case.
“She’s doing what she should be doing here, which is looking at everything, including us,” Strang added. “When it’s late in the process of trying to challenge an appeal, the route most acceptable to courts when they think someone ought to get a new trial is to blame the defense lawyers. She understands that, we understand that. It’s always hard to get a conviction reversed and often the most acceptable reason for granting relief from a court is to blame the defense lawyers. That’s not Kathleen Zellner’s fault.”