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Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ Helps Generate Two Petitions to Free Steven Avery

Netflix's 'Making a Murderer' Helps Generate Two Petitions to Free Steven Avery

UPDATE: Thursday evening, the White House responded to the petition filed on WhiteHouse.gov calling for Steven Avery to be pardoned.

The official response reads, “Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them. A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities. […] While this case is out of the Administration’s purview, President Obama is committed to restoring the sense of fairness at the heart of our justice system. That’s why he has granted 184 commutations total — more than the last five presidents combined — and has issued 66 pardons over his time in office.”

The White House offered the same response for the Change.org petition described below.

Rather than spending time with their loved ones this holiday season, some Netflix subscribers chose to help return a convict to his. “Making a Murderer,” the new Netflix docuseries released December 18, explores the suspicious legal case against Steven Avery, an exonerated ex-con who found himself back in jail after trying to sue the people who put him there the first time. Following the release of the 10-part Netflix original series, two separate petitions have been created with the aim to free Avery. 

READ MORE: Netflix’s ‘Making a Murderer’ is the Documentary Event of the Fall

At the official White House site for petitions, the call to action reads: “Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey should be given a full pardon by President Obama for their wrongful conviction in the connection to the murder of Teresa Halbach. Based on the evidence in the Netflix documentary series ‘Making a Murderer’, the justice system embarrassingly failed both men, completely ruining their entire lives.”

Michael Seyedian’s petition at Change.org is equally blunt, including a passage that 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.”

The Change.org petition has more than 164,000 supporters and needs to reach 200,000 in order to be sent to a “decision maker.” The White House petition has more than 19,000 signatures and needs to pass 100,000 by January 19 before “White House staff will review it, ensure it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.”

All 10 episodes of “Making a Murderer” are streaming now on Netflix. 

READ MORE: Why It Took Filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi a Decade to Finish ‘Making a Murderer’

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