Making a Murderer: White House responds to petition for release of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey
SPOILER ALERT: The following article contains details of public reaction and proceedings that have taken place in real life after the final episode of docu-series Making a Murderer.
Making a Murderer is making waves - all the way up to the White House.
A petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling for the pardon of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, the subjects of the Netflix docu-series, reached enough signatures to require an official response this week. The response, however, is not likely to appease fans of the show who believe Avery and Dassey are innocent of the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Wisconsin.
In the official response to the petition, posted on WhiteHouse.gov, the White House explained that the President only has the power to pardon those convicted for federal offences, whereas Avery and Dassey were convicted for a state offence.
"Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them," the statement reads. "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 Department of Justice has previously stated that petitions regarding Avery and Dassey's cases should be directed at the governor or other appropriate authorities of the state where the person was convicted.
A petition directed at Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Change.org has 6,300 supporters as of Friday morning (local time), but Walker has previously said he will grant no pardons.
Netflix isn't the only one interested in continuing the investigation into Avery's case. Investigation Discovery chief Henry Schleiff, calling the network "the country's most experienced true-crime network," Thursday told writers at the Television Critics Association that ID, working with NBC News' Peacock Productions, would present a special edition of Front Page that will address the Avery case.
"We feel compelled to address what we believe are some critical details missing from the case as presented in ... Making a Murderer," Schleiff said. The program is "an attempt to provide critical, crucial evidence and testimonies that answer many of the questions surrounding Steven Avery."