Making A Murderer

We spent the weekend convalescing after long needed and much put off dental surgery on Friday.  Of course, there is only one thing to do under such circumstances:  binge-watch some series on Netflix.

The reality show du jour (with the same title as this post) that has captured the public’s imagination is about a guy, Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault in 1985, spent 18 years in prison, and then two years after his exoneration and release was charged with the murder of a young woman.  His real defense to the second charge was that police had framed him, but due to various rulings by the trial judge his lawyers could only hint at that, not argue it.

We’re going to make just a few observations, probably over-informed by our own experiences, and assuming at this point without deciding that Mr. Avery was not only wrongly convicted the first time, but also railroaded and framed the second time, for whatever value readers might find in them, taking all that into account.

First, someone should have told Mr. Avery that the life he knew before his wrongful conviction and 18 years of imprisonment was long gone, and that under no circumstances should he return to live in the same place that wrongfully convicted him.  That he did so was beyond foolish, but apparently he is quite intelligence challenged with a borderline IQ and little education.

The reason for this is that law enforcement as a group, despite some manifest virtues under many circumstances, also have a terrible and often frightening recalcitrance once someone has been written out of their book of life, so to speak.  Trying to right that, if it has been wrongly done, degenerates into a naked power struggle on their part, where police as a group are impervious to evidence or reason and are capable of almost anything.  This is an extremely disturbing and dangerous state of affairs, and the institutional memory – and vindictiveness – is essentially limitless and perpetual.

We have said this many times:  exonerees should probably leave the country and live as obscurely as possible.

Second, when the police frame you a trial, even a jury trial, is no remedy.  Criminal charges are brought by government actors and at a trial they are conclusively presumed to be brought in good faith, as a practical matter.  If they are brought in bad faith, that’s an issue for a collateral procedure.  We could say quite a bit more about that but won’t right now.

As it happened, Mr. Avery’s lawyers went to trial, got hamstrung by judicial rulings and lost.  We’re not blaming them.  Indeed, in one scene in open court they were rather pointedly threatened:  a character sitting at the prosecutor’s table offered his view that if they pursued the theory that police had acted dishonestly and planted evidence, they did so “…at their own peril.”

We think if there’s evidence that the government is acting in bad faith, that has to be sorted out before we put their potential target on trial.  We believe that this is actually the law already, implicitly.  We harbor a probably irrational hope that it will soon be the law explicitly.

Third, the furthest Mr. Avery’s lawyers were willing to go was suspecting that this young woman disappeared and turned up dead, and law enforcement capitalized on the “fortuitous” incident to construct a phony case against their client.  But a far more sinister possibility exists.  It is implied as soon as you start going down the “frame-up” rabbit hole:  was this homicide a coincidence that law enforcement capitalized upon, or was it a homicide that they had a hand in arranging in the first place?  You can’t ignore that because the jury won’t.  Somebody killed the young woman and somebody has to be identified as the culprit.  “Common sense” defaults to whomever is officially accused.

Then again, offering evidence at your own trial that someone else is guilty is highly problematic, although it shouldn’t be.  We restrict a defendant’s ability to accuse someone else because it works too often, making acquittals easy and convictions difficult, the reverse of the current situation.

No one wants to believe that law enforcement as a group are guilty – or even capable – of what they must have done if Steven Avery is innocent.  And that includes us.  But what we want to believe or disbelieve is not the question.  Here is real “peril”:  when we decide that what we want is more important than the truth and we lie and cheat and obfuscate and even do violence to prevail.

It is the peril of zealous advocacy, and it is far more dangerous when practiced by the government.


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11 responses to “Making A Murderer

  1. GB

    “His real defense to the second charge was that police had framed him”

    That was the mistake everybody made, including Avery’s defence, and they are still making to today.

    “was this homicide a coincidence that law enforcement capitalized upon, or was it a homicide that they had a hand in arranging in the first place? ”

    Neither. There was no coincidence, this was a murder in which the target was Halbach, Avery, the police and the justice system.

    Most people still don’t see it, because they don’t know the person who almost certainly arranged everything. The serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards who fooled everyone over and over again.

    John Cameron, the ex-detective who investigated Edwards has already visited the Avery family.

    See : you may need more than 10 hours to properly comprehend Edwards, thought is needed, but the benefit is you may understand the truth behind many of these sensational cases.


  2. 2dogsonly

    There is one famous trial, George Zimmerman, that the detectives and police helped the defendant, even coaching him. He took donations meant to hire a private attorney and used them to pay off other bills. All the calls were from his jail and he used the stupidest “code” to direct his sister and wife to withdraw just under 10k. Guess who got charged with perjury, his wife. The Judge was removed because he returned him to prison and raised bail. Almost never done!
    He stayed in same area and continued to commit spouse abuse, father-law attack, girlfriend abuse twice on separate girlfriends,many others but there are so many hours in the day. Even sold a disparaging photo of SP Angela Corey. Got off every time. Did get a cease and desist on that but sold one on eBay ridiculing prosecutor who got him off.
    Last incident involved road rage. He followed a car, but person refused to file report. One week later, Matt Appearson shot into Zimmerman’s car. Same Judge, who threw the case,is prosecuting Appearson and throwing book at him.
    There is a biz. on you tube that posts trials but edits out side bars. croakerqueen123, spelling may be off but it will come up.
    A blog had people all over the world working on the evidence and is the only blog that never had a troll. Everything was researched from very brilliant computer experts. Google Crick’s blog, my memory is just awful now. He made you first state evidence and only then express your thoughts!
    It was the first application of Florida’s right to shoot if afraid. He murdered Trayvon Martin who was walking to his father’s condo in Twin Lakes town homes in Florida.verdict not guilty. Judge Nelson :”Mr.Zimmerman you are free to go, the court has no further business with you!” Don’t hear that from trial Judges ever!!
    The police consistently refuse to press charges on any DV calls, elder abuse and spousal abuse, road rage, ruining a gunshop’s biz. by hiding out behind it. When neighbor’s called in suspicious person report, GZ and police just yuked it up!

    In fact, they went out of their way to try and set him up as a hero, calling him to come to a crash so he could heroically put out a non- existent Fire.
    One of the prosecutors that helped free him was just appointed Judge in Duval County.
    Judge Nelson consistently ruled for the defendant and the main prosecutor, Bernie Del Rio,had 20 years exp. prosecuting cases and acted like this was his first case, bumbled through it.
    This is probably an example of the old rule, the exception proves the rule!
    Last item, Zimmerman was finally booted off of Twitter for posting confederate flags and racial remarks. This was right after the Charlestom massacre. He’s probably back on by now.
    Can’t wait to see this on Netflex.


  3. Pingback: “Making a Murderer”: A Show About the Dysfunction of the American Justice System – ElephantTail

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