Case Defendants Still Feeling the Impact from Netflix's 2015 Drama 'Making a Murderer'by HaydnSpurrell
Netflix told the story of Steven Avery back in 2015, a man who in 2005 had previously been exonerated for a crime after spending 18 years in prison, and his nephew, as murder suspect in the killing of Teresa Halbach in 2005.
The series took a look at tactics used by law enforcement as well as the prosecution, and resulted in a White House petition for the release of Avery. Brendan Dasey's (the nephew) current lawyer Steven Drizin, who work at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at the Nortwestern Pritzker School of Law, has commented on the show's impact.
“I think the series has really opened people’s eyes to just how overzealous law enforcement can be in their efforts to gain a conviction at all costs,” he says. It "has raised serious concerns about how police officers interrogate suspects, particularly youthful suspects" and has called into question whether "police officers and prosecutors in the zeal to win cases are willing to trample on suspects’ basic constitutional rights, even to go so far as to plant evidence.”
“For the first time, in my lifetime, two of the heroes are criminal defense attorneys — [Steven Avery co-counsels] Dean Strang and Jerry Buting. They are being praised for fighting like hell on behalf of a client who was accused of committing the most awful of crimes,” Drizin says. “You don’t see defense attorneys getting that kind of acclaim very often.
“The fact that so many people are outraged by what they saw gives me hope that this could be a real opportunity for change,” says Drizin.