A celebration erupted in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin on September 11, 2003, as Steven Avery walked out of the prison where he had been locked up for 18 years. Wrongfully convicted of a heinous sexual assault, Avery was ultimately exonerated by DNA testing nearly two decades after his conviction.
Avery sued police and prosecutors for misconduct to the tune of $36 million and was likely to win an enormous judgement. And then 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach disappeared after visiting Avery's property.
Along with his nephew Brendan Dassey, Avery was ultimately convicted of mudering Halbach. This saga was the subject of last year's hit Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, which presented evidence of police misconduct and crime scene tampering, thus casting doubt on the verdicts. The film became a national sensation, and it has been lighting up the internet ever since, including speculation about other possible suspects.
Avery's defense attorneys, Jerry Buting and Dean Strang, won over viewers with their principled and hard-fought defense. They are currently touring internationally, hoping to further the discussion started by the documentary.
Reason TV's Justin Monticello sat down with Jerry Buting to talk about the Avery and Dassey cases, updates since the documentary series aired, and what the cases reveal about the criminal justice system.
1:40—Is Steven Avery innocent?
2:38—Why no other suspects were presented at trial.
4:15—Reddit theories on Teresa Halbach's true murderer.
4:44—Brendan Dassey's trial and false confessions.
7:52—The role of social media, graphic publicity, and judges in creating biased jurors.
9:39—Steven Avery's appeals lawyer, Kathleen Zellner, makes bold claims of new evidence.
10:24—Suspicious activity on Teresa Halbach's voicemail after her death was never investigated.
12:23—Halbach's bones provide exculpatory evidence that wasn't fully covered in the documentary.
14:43—Does it matter to defense attorneys if their clients are innocent or not?
15:50—The perils of ending up like Brendan Dassey's original attorney, Len Kachinsky.
16:18—What he was thinking when the verdict was read.
17:20—Carrying the water for honest criminal defense attorneys.
18:12—Becoming a sex symbol, and what it's like for the family of "sexy Jerry Buting."
18:56—The top three ways to improve the justice system on the ground.
20:48—Criminal justice reform in politics and as a grassroots movement.
About 22 minutes.
Produced by Justin Monticello. Shot by Alex Manning and Zach Weissmueller. Additional footage from Making a Murderer (Netflix, 2015).
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