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‘Making a Murderer’ in the Media
By Beth McGough
Warning! Spoilers ahead.
Have you watched the Netflix series Making a Murderer?
What is your conclusion?
Making a Murderer is a documentary series about Steven Avery. Avery was convicted of rape and assault in the 1980s, and then freed in 2003 when DNA evidence exonerated him. But, in 2006 he was accused of a brutal murder and, again, convicted. Though still imprisoned, Avery maintains his innocence.
Making a Murderer has caused outrage and calls for Avery’s pardon, but some reviewers are criticizing the producers. Commentators indicate details from the trial were left out, which biased the series in favor of Avery.
Looking for answers
The series included numerous clips of the television media, but did not include much newspaper content or explicitly mention scholarly sources. Newspapers, law journals, scholarly articles, and dissertations can illuminate facts and perspectives that will help you decide if Avery is guilty or innocent.
Coverage of the trial from the local newspapers in Manitowoc county and Milwaukee
Pankratz, Pat. DNA Frees Man After 18 Years. Herald Times Reporter, Sep 11, 2003, p. A1
Weaver, Amy. Avery Faces Homicide Charge. Herald Times Reporter, Nov 12, 2005, p. A1
Kertscher, Tom. STEVEN AVERY TRIAL BEGINS; DA says blood, bone link Avery to killing; But defense contends burned bones likely were planted. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb 13, 2007, p. B1
Little, Ken. Avery trial is lesson in courtroom reality of criminal cases. Herald Times Reporter, Feb 18, 2007, p. A4
Braley, Kevin. Keeping quiet. Herald Times Reporter, March 4, 2007, p. A1
STANFORD. AVERY TRIAL; The power of DNA; This time the jury got it right in convicting Steven Avery, once wrongly convicted in a 1985 rape case, of first-degree murder in the slaying of photographer Teresa Halbach. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 20, 2007, p. A8
Little, Ken. Was Justice Served in Avery Verdict? If You Believe in System, Yes. Herald Times Reporter, March 19, 2007, p. A4
Steven Avery Denied New Trial in Teresa Halbach 2005 Homicide. Herald Times Reporter, Aug 25, 2011, p. A3
Davey, Monica. Freed by DNA, Now Charged In New Crime. The New York Times, Nov 17, 2005, p. A1
Man Freed by DNA Test is Convicted of Murder. The New York Times, March 18, 2007, p. A13
COURT OF APPEALS AFFIRMS STEVEN AVERY'S CONVICTION FOR 1ST-DEGREE INTENTIONAL HOMICIDE. US Federal News Service, Aug 25, 2011
Wang, Yanan. More than 170,000 call for pardon of 'Making a Murderer' subject Steven Avery. Washington Post – Blogs, Jan 4, 2016
Coverage in legal journals
Lampert Smith, Susan. Somber reflection at Project Innocence. The Wisconsin State Law Journal, March 5, 2006
Krieger, Steven A. Why Our Justice System Convicts Innocent People, and the Challenges Faced by Innocence Projects Trying to Exonerate Them. New Criminal Law Review, Summer 2011, p. 333-402
Coverage in scholarly journals and dissertations
Olson, Elizabeth Ann. Lies, damned lies, and alibis: How do evaluators process alibis? ProQuest Dissertations, March 2005
Bowman, Locke E. LEMONADE OUT OF LEMONS: CAN WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS LEAD TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM? Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, Summer 2008, p. 1501-1517
Note: You must have access to ProQuest through a library to view the articles in this post.