UPDATE: Dean Strang, the former attorney for Steven Avery, told the Huffington Post that despite the best wishes of Avery's supporters, two widespread petitions probably won't do Avery much good. "Steven's realistic hope does not lie in a petition, as good as that is for people to become involved," he said. "It lies in the area of newly discovered evidence."
Netflix docu-series Making a Murderer focuses on the 2005 murder conviction of Wisconsin native Steven Avery – who is currently serving a life sentence – by scrutinizing the details of his case. Since the show's release, major petitions have emerged on Change.org and the White House website, aiming to free Avery via presidential pardon, Vulture reports.
The White House petition – which seeks pardons for both Avery and also-convicted nephew Brendan Dassey – has over 19,000 signatures at the time of this writing, with over 80,000 more needed by January 19th to elicit a public government response.
"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," the complaint reads. "Based on the evidence in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer, the justice system embarrassingly failed both men, completely ruining their entire lives. There is clear evidence that the Manitowoc County sheriff's department used improper methods to convict both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey. This is a black mark on the justice system as a whole, and should be recognized as such, while also giving these men the ability to live as normal a life as possible."
The Change.org petition currently has over 164,000 signatures of its 200,000 goal.
"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.," the appeal reads. "Avery's unconstitutional mistreatment at the hands of corrupt local law enforcement is completely unacceptable and is an abomination of due process. Steven Avery should be exonerated at once by presidential pardon, and the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems."
The 10-episode run of Making a Murderer hit Netflix on December 18th, earning favorable reviews for its comprehensive analysis of a complicated case. "Thanks to the likes of Serial and HBO's The Jinx, true-life stories about miscarriages of justice are the hottest storytelling genre since the YA explosion," Rolling Stone wrote of the show. "It was only a matter of time before Netflix got in on the action, and their addition to the group is a doozy."
Ken Kratz, the prosecutor who convicted Avery, told People that the directors omitted evidence crucial to Avery's conviction. "You don't want to muddy up a perfectly good conspiracy movie with what actually happened, and certainly not provide the audience with the evidence the jury considered to reject that claim," he said.