The White House and Change.org petitions demanding a presidential pardon for Steven Avery, the subject of the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” are a definite sign of support for the Wisconsin man who many believe was wrongfully convicted of murder in 2007.
But in terms of real-world implications, it doesn’t appear that they will amount to much more than wishful thinking.
While the White House petition surpassed 100,000 signatures — the threshold that qualifies the petition for White House review — this week, Obama is constitutionally barred from pardoning Avery, because he was convicted in state court.
“Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President,” the Department of Justice’s website explains. “In addition, the President’s pardon power extends to convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and military court-martial proceedings. However, the President cannot pardon a state criminal offense.”
Likewise, Avery won’t be pardoned by current Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, to whom the Change.org petition is also addressed. In a statement, Walker’s press secretary noted that Walker has made it a policy not to issue pardons.
“These events took place before Governor Walker took office,” press secretary Laurel Patrick said, according to the Huffington Post. “Governor Walker has not watched this documentary. As you may know, early in his administration, Governor Walker made the decision not to issue pardons … Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court.”
In 2011, a state appeals court shot down Avery’s attempt to obtain a new trial in the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. However, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there is currently a pending federal court action aiming to have the conviction tossed, or to grant a new trial.
The White House has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment on the petition.
The Netflix documentary series, which premiered in December, has sparked heated debate, not just among viewers in general, with Ken Kratz, the prosecutor in Avery’s case, claiming that the series omitted key evidence.
'Making a Murderer': Where Are They Now? (Photos)
Ken Kratz: The Avery case prosecutor says he has overcome an addiction to prescription pain pills since the trial and gone through the public humiliation of a sexting scandal. He maintains his license and now serves as a defense attorney.
Mike Halbach: The brother of murder victim Teresa Halbach has served as a Halbach family spokesperson is now the director of Football Technology for the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay Packers
Sgt. Andrew Colburn is now Lt. Andrew Colburn. He holds the title in the Detective Division of the Manitowoc County Sheriff's Office.
Gregory Allen: Allen, who was found to have committed the rape for which Steven Avery spent 18 years behind bars, is serving a 60-year prison sentence for a 1995 sexual assault. He's up for parole in October 2016.
Sheriff Tom Kocourek: Kocourek retired from his post in 2001. He was named as a defendant in a $36 million federal lawsuit brought forward by Avery.
Angenette Levy: Levy, a journalist who garnered a lot of "Making A Murderer" playback attention for asking the tough questions, is now an on-air reporter for WKRC in Cincinnati.
Aaron Keller: Levy, another reporter, is now an English/Communications professor at NHTI, Concord’s Community College in New Hampshire.
Dean Strang: Strang recently said that he occasionally speaks with Avery, his former client. The defense attorney is not shying away from the spotlight, and recently took part in a Facebook Q&A. The trial lawyer is a partner at Strang Bradley LLC in Madison.
Strang Bradley LLC
Denis Vogel: The ex-DA is now an attorney at Wheeler, Van Sickle and Anderson, S.C., where he concentrates on commercial litigation, with a focus on matters involving utilities, electricity use and distribution, and cellular telecommunications.
Steven Avery: Well, he's in jail -- the Waupun Correctional Institute, to be exact.
The Innocence Project
Brendan Dassey: On August 12, 2016, a federal judge overturned his 2007 conviction for first-degree intentional homicide, second-degree sexual assault, and mutilation of a corpse. Avery's nephew had been sentenced to Avery's nephew sentenced to life with no parole for 41 years for Halbach's murder.
Sheriff Ken Peterson: Peterson retired as Manitowoc County sheriff in 2007, just two years after he now-famously told a TV station it would have been "a whole lot easier to eliminate [Avery] than it would to frame him."
Barb Tadych: Brendan's mom has publicly kept a low profile since all the "Making a Murderer" hype began. Tadych appears to remain in the area, as her most recent social media check-in was at a Center for Diagnostic Imaging in Appleton, Wis.
Sandy Greenman: It appears that Avery and Greenman are still an item. Per what appears to be her Facebook page, Greenman visited Avery in prison as recently as Monday.
James Lenk: Lenk has managed to keep one of the lowest profiles of the entire "Making A Murderer" gang. It is unclear whether has a Netflix subscription.
Jodi Stachowski: Steven's ex-fiancee has had some legal troubles. In April 2007, she was found guilty of using worthless checks. She was arrested three times in 2009. Since then, Stachowski has stayed out of major criminal trouble.
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Brendan Dassey’s murder conviction was overturned, but what happened to everyone else featured in the Netflix docu-series?