The White House responded Friday to a petition from nearly 130,000 people
demanding that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, the subjects of Netflix's "Making a Murderer" docu-series, receive presidential pardons.
"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," a response posted to Change.org from the We the People Team
at the White House said.
President Barack Obama has the power to offer a reprieve or pardon only "towards persons who have committed federal crimes."
Avery and his nephew Dassey were convicted of murdering photographer Teresa Halbach in 2005. The case is detailed in the new Netflix series, which suggests that Avery was framed by police in Wisconsin.
Some members of "Making a Murderer's" passionate following commented online that they aren't so concerned with a presidential pardon as they are with securing a new trial out of state.
"I believe that there are two sides to every story. I don't really seek a presidential pardon, but rather a new trial, outside of Wisconsin, with 12 impartial jurors," one person commented under the White House response. "I have read with interest that Ken Kratz, the former DA, has been stating that the documentary did not reveal much of the evidence that he and his team felt compelling. As someone who believes that something is terribly amiss with this case, it's only fair to retry Steven Avery in an unbiased location. He deserves a new trial."
The case is captivating because Avery served 18 years in prison on a sexual assault he did not commit. He was exonerated by new DNA evidence in 2003 and charged with Halbach's murder just two years later.
The "Making a Murderer" series has caused many to question U.S. justice proceedings and to lobby for help for Avery and Dassey.
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