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Making a Murderer Discussion Thread (Spoilers Likely)

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So, the wife and I just watched episode 1.

I've read a bit about it, and basically… I don't think I'm going to go along with the story they're going to try to tell.

You have a guy with an IQ of 70. Who lit a cat on fire. Who may or may not have screwed his wife on his front lawn. Who ran a woman off the road and threatened her with a gun. Who stole (stupid stuff) from a store.

You have a victim who IDed him. You have a sketch artist who says he did not see the picture. You have a guy convicted by a jury of his peers, and an AG who found no wrong-doing in the incorrect original conviction.

From what I've read this whole thing is setting me up to make the case that he didn't kill the woman coming up here in the next episode or something, too, but I'm still leaning heavily toward "he probably did." I'm not inclined to take the almost one-sided story quite so readily as they seem to want me to take it.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time reading conspiracy theories, but from what I've seen in glances, people are falling in line with that way of thinking: the "they done screwed him AGAIN" line of thinking.

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It was a one-sided presentation for the defense.  I picked up on it and didn't fall for the line they were slinging.  Didn't know anything specifically but just kept thinking "there HAS to be stuff we're not hearing here."  After the fact, heard there was quite a lot omitted.

Something like 117,000 people have signed a petition to Scott Walker to release him, don't think that's gonna happen.

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I won't get into too much detail since @iacas is just on the second episode but there is a lot of stuff that happens that just doesn't make sense and makes it appear that the deck is stacked against Avery.

In case anyone hasn't these articles, some interesting stuff.

 

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2 minutes ago, mvmac said:

I won't get into too much detail since @iacas is just on the second episode but there is a lot of stuff that happens that just doesn't make sense and makes it appear that the deck is stacked against Avery.

A) Donnie's opinion is not something I care to consider.

B) I don't think the presentation is unbiased. They couldn't even get through the first episode without trying to slant things… and he got off from those charges. The facts were on their side and they twisted the story.

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2 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't think the presentation is unbiased.

I don't think it is either and I'm not typically a conspiracy theorist. Curious to get your take when you get to episodes 6-8. I think the prosecution's theory of the crime will make you scratch your head.

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I've "seen" almost five episodes, but I've mostly had them on in the background so I didn't retain much. I'm going to have to re-watch from the beginning at some point. 

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I've heard about the show but it honestly seems like a rather odd premise to begin with. It makes me wonder who Netflix purchased the material needed for this show from, because I imagine they hadn't planned it themselves that far in advance.

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11 hours ago, Pretzel said:

I've heard about the show but it honestly seems like a rather odd premise to begin with. It makes me wonder who Netflix purchased the material needed for this show from, because I imagine they hadn't planned it themselves that far in advance.

I think the filmmakers started making the show and Netflix picked it up.


I was involved for a year or so in filming shows. I considered trying to film a show about kayak fishing, and the way it often works is this:

  • You create anywhere from one to a full season's worth of shows, anywhere from a rough idea to a completely finished product with all the graphics, etc.
  • You pitch the show to a network, like "Outdoor Life Network."
  • If they think enough people will watch it that they can sell ads, you negotiate a price and an order size. (Sometimes you can keep 30 seconds for your own ads, but oftentimes you insert your own show sponsors as part of the show, and the network will sometimes agree not to air a direct competitor's ads during your show. In other words, if you're sponsored by Humminbird for your depth finders, they'll sometimes agree not to run a Garmin ad during your show.)
  • They pay you, you produce the shows, and they sell the ads.
  • The more popular the show, the more they can charge for ads, and the more they can pay you for season 2.

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I finished Making A Murderer on Netflix today.  Very bizarre story.  I get that it's pointing out how flawed the judicial system is, but there seems to be a very heavy bias towards the defense.  At the end of the series I'm just glad I wasn't a juror.

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15 hours ago, Warren Zevon said:

I finished Making A Murderer on Netflix today.  Very bizarre story.  I get that it's pointing out how flawed the judicial system is, but there seems to be a very heavy bias towards the defense.  At the end of the series I'm just glad I wasn't a juror.

I agree.

I think the most sane thing I've read about it is this:

  • If the author were a juror, they would not have convicted based on the evidence presented. They didn't feel it rose beyond reasonable doubt.
  • They think he was guilty.

In other words, they think that Avery did it, but the state didn't have enough evidence to warrant a conviction.

The things I've heard were left out or very quickly glossed over in the favor of the prosecution include:

  • Avery called her twice that day earlier from a blocked number, and once after she'd arrived from his cell phone (perhaps to help set up an alibi? To locate her cell phone?).
  • Avery always made special requests that SHE be the one to come out and photograph.
  • Some other stuff I forget. I'm sure others can fill this in.

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I just finished watching all the episodes. Wow. Just wow. I realise that what I just saw was a bit one-sided, and to be honest I really do believe Avery is quilty as hell. That being said, some really big errors were made by the police, by the prosecution... things that stand in the way of having a fair trial. And don't even get me started on the suit against Dassey. I feel it's very strange he doesn't get a re-trial, since it's proven that his first lawer messed up big time and it seems like his rights were violated. No matter how horrible the crime is, having rights as a suspect as well is what seperates 'us' from countries with shady leaders and systems. But in this case it seems like the systems failed, over and over again.

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Just one example… Brendan got phone calls at, what, 5, 6, and 7 o'clock, and then talked to his mom around 9 or so on the phone before he went to bed? Why didn't the defense show phone records? How likely is it that someone would be 100 yards away in his home if he was busy raping, mutilating, cutting, shooting, burning, and moving a body.

So were there phone records? Were they brought forth by the defense? Were they not shown in the TV show? Or were there no phone calls, which makes it less likely that the whole other version of his story is perhaps false.

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http://www.newstalk1130.com/onair/common-sense-central-37717/

Yeah, look… Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery killed Teresa and burned her body. I'm certain beyond any and all reasonable doubt now at this point.

The defense teams weren't bad. The TV show made it appear that way because it was so pro-Avery and pro-Dassey.

The puncture in the top of the vial, for example, was put there by the lab technician who tested the blood. Never comes up in the "documentary." Which, then, makes the defense teams look like crap. The "documentary" is so one-sided, it makes the defense teams look like they did a terrible job.

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

http://www.newstalk1130.com/onair/common-sense-central-37717/

Yeah, look… Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery killed Teresa and burned her body. I'm certain beyond any and all reasonable doubt now at this point.

The defense teams weren't bad. The TV show made it appear that way because it was so pro-Avery and pro-Dassey.

The puncture in the top of the vial, for example, was put there by the lab technician who tested the blood. Never comes up in the "documentary." Which, then, makes the defense teams look like crap. The "documentary" is so one-sided, it makes the defense teams look like they did a terrible job.

Holy crap, that series of articles is atrocious. I'm not sure how you can read that and now assume that he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It's just as biased, if not more biased, than the documentary. Ugh. Of the many things that's wrong with it, let me just pick at two things.

First, it takes Brendan Dassey's confession at face value. That is patently ridiculous. He recanted his story several times. He is completely unreliable. I'm not sure how it's possible to put any stock in what he said at any time. The specific confession he gave to the investigators, while it probably didn't violate his Miranda rights, was coercive. The investigators led him down the path to confess, and I think he just finally broke and told them what they wanted to hear. And a confession by a teenager who is learning disabled, interrogated by police officers for a long time, without his parents or any other adult there is completely unreliable. It is not all that unusual to have someone confess to a crime he didn't commit in circumstances like this. Especially when you add in the fact that he changes his story several times both during and after the confession! But this article just uses the confession, and it essentially says this is the evidence that proves Avery is guilty. This is exactly where the case against Avery is the weakest. There are multiple versions of Dassey's confession out there. The article just takes the one he gave to the investigators and treats it as definitive. That is a very big jump to make.

Side note -  although it's likely no lawyer could have done better than he did, Brendan Dassey's lawyer was awful. Letting him talk to police officers without him present after he had been charged strikes me as malpractice.

Second, let's talk about how the articles goes all crazy about how the defense never presented who actually did the crime. I wonder why that is, hmmm, maybe because the judge denied the motion for the defense to present evidence of third party liability! They actually did have evidence, and the judge excluded it (see: https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=70129 and http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/10/making-a-murderer-meet-the-men-steven-avery-thinks-may-have-killed-teresa-halbach.html). You can't bash the lawyers based on the trial footage for not introducing evidence they weren't allowed to. Whether that evidence is reliable, whether the judge correctly excluded it, and whether Wisconsin's law on third-party liability is fair to defendants are all legitimate questions. But this series just says the defense didn't provide a single shred of evidence (wrong), and then says their vague finger pointing at trial should be dismissed (but that's all their lawyers could do!).

There are many other problems in this series, but I don't have the energy to go through it all.

My personal feeling is that Avery should not have been convincted but I'm not convinced he's innocent either. There are too many holes in both sides of the story for me to come to any sort of conclusion. Let's be honest, though, the point of this documentary isn't whether Avery is guilty or innocent. If that's all you got from it, then watching it was wasted on you. It's about the justice system, not Steven Avery. There were many open questions on this case. 7 jurors initially voted not guilty. But Avery was still convicted. What does that say about our justice system?

A good article, if you are inclined, that touches on this: http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/01/25/dead-certainty. I think this excerpt hits the point that I'm making in that last paragraph.

Spoiler

The series presents Avery’s case as a one-off—a preposterous crusade by a grudge-bearing county sheriff’s department to discredit and imprison a nemesis. (Hence the ad-hominem attacks the show has inspired.) But you don’t need to have filed a thirty-six-million-dollar suit against law enforcement to be detained, denied basic rights, and have evidence planted on your person or property. Among other things, simply being black can suffice. While Avery’s story is dramatic, every component of it is sadly common. Seventy-two per cent of wrongful convictions involve a mistaken eyewitness. Twenty-seven per cent involve false confessions. Nearly half involve scientific fraud or junk science. More than a third involve suppression of evidence by police.

Those statistics reflect systemic problems. Eyewitness testimony is dangerously persuasive to juries, yet it remains admissible in courts almost without caveat. Some interrogation methods are more likely than others to produce false confessions, yet there are no national standards; fewer than half of states require interrogations to be videotaped, and all of them allow interrogators to lie to suspects. With the exception of DNA evidence (which emerged from biology, not criminology), forensic tests are laughably unscientific; no independent entity exists to establish that such tests are reliable before their results are admissible as evidence.

It is largely because of these systemic weaknesses in our judicial system that we find ourselves with a court of last resort. While that court cannot directly operate the levers of the law, it has drawn attention to cases that need review, and innocent people have been freed as a result. Yet in the decades since Erle Stanley Gardner launched his column, none of the forces that put those people in prison in the first place have changed for the better. Nor have we evolved a set of standards around extrajudicial investigations of criminal cases. However broken the rules that govern our real courts, the court of last resort is bound by no rules at all.

 

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

The puncture in the top of the vial, for example, was put there by the lab technician who tested the blood. Never comes up in the "documentary." Which, then, makes the defense teams look like crap. The "documentary" is so one-sided, it makes the defense teams look like they did a terrible job.

That's probably true, but that doesn't explain the broken seals. Someone broke those seals illegally, something went wrong there. Is that prove the blood was planted? No, that's still speculation, but it is highly suspisious.

I also strongly believe that Avery and Dassey are both guilty. But proven beyond all reasonable doubt? Mwah, especially in Dassey's case not at all in my opinion. That guy never had a fair trial, no physical evidence of him on the scene, only his own (inconsistent) confessions .... and than to find him guilty of first degree murder. I don't think that is proven beyond reasonable doubt at all. Also it is shocking to see that even when you can prove his lawyer did some very bad things, the judge eventually even took him off the case as well, and still they refuse him a new trial.... it's shocking.

 

What is also shocking (and nothing to do with the current case, just wanted to mention it) is that nobody got punished or was found guilty regarding the 18 years of wrongfull imprisonment of Avery. The complete system failed there. Police made mistakes, but the jury never should have found him guilty; the only thing they had was the witness statement, which we all know is the most unreliable of all. How on earth, with no other prove or evidence at all (in fact, Avery had numerous alibi's), did they find him guilty.

I have to say, in Holland we don't have a jury system; on criminal cases we have 3 judges. Not saying they can't make mistakes (ofcourse they can), but I have much more confidence in it then I would have in a jury. The list of (now famous) wrongful confictions is getting quite long....

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Holy crap, that series of articles is atrocious. I'm not sure how you can read that and now assume that he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It's just as biased, if not more biased, than the documentary. Ugh. Of the many things that's wrong with it, let me just pick at two things.

At the end of the day, both juries convicted. Their appeals have been denied. Nothing has happened to indicate that there was any sort of wrong-doing.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

First, it takes Brendan Dassey's confession at face value. That is patently ridiculous.

I disagree. His testimony specifically corroborates the physical evidence that exists. He knew details about the crime that he couldn't have just made up. The TV series skips over things like how Brendan said they put her in the back of the car, drove to the pond, and saw that it was dried out before they returned to burn the body.

It skips over a lot. And all of that is corroborated by Dassey's confession. A confession the series leads you to believe was badgered out of him, but all they did was tell him they knew he was lying. Because… they knew he was lying.

He also stood up to the badgering by the prosecutor in his own trial.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

He is completely unreliable. I'm not sure how it's possible to put any stock in what he said at any time.

Because his statements contained information that couldn't have been known otherwise.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

The specific confession he gave to the investigators, while it probably didn't violate his Miranda rights, was coercive.

I disagree. It wasn't even close to coercive in my opinion.

And I realize his IQ was below 80, but even when you're that dumb you have to know that admitting to helping rape and kill someone just so people leave you alone is not something you do.

It's far, far, far more likely IMO that he didn't want to admit it, but finally relented, and later realized that if he hadn't admitted to it all he'd have probably been fine, so he tried to walk it back.

That's without even considering things like the bleach on his pants, the lack of a phone call history that corroborates his timeline, etc.

His original attorney realized that he was guilty, and so tried to get him the best deal: plead guilty and testify against Avery.

Now, should he have been tried as an adult? I don't know. I would like to think that he should have been judged incompetent to stand trial, perhaps. But that's never seemed to be a play.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

It is not all that unusual to have someone confess to a crime he didn't commit in circumstances like this.

It's incredibly rare for them to be able to corroborate evidence that isn't widely known, to lie about a timeline of phone calls, etc.

Also, his confessions didn't vary by as much as you seem to think. The jury saw the bulk of it and clearly didn't feel he was coerced.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

Second, let's talk about how the articles goes all crazy about how the defense never presented who actually did the crime. I wonder why that is, hmmm, maybe because the judge denied the motion for the defense to present evidence of third party liability! They actually did have evidence, and the judge excluded it (see: https://www.wicourts.gov/ca/opinion/DisplayDocument.pdf?content=pdf&seqNo=70129 and http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/10/making-a-murderer-meet-the-men-steven-avery-thinks-may-have-killed-teresa-halbach.html).

Uhhhh, and yet the first document says:

Quote

The third-party liability evidence proffered by Avery identified a large group of individuals who he claimed were near the Avery property on the date of Halbach’s murder but who he acknowledged had no motive to harm her. 

Avery is grasping at straws. He's saying "there were other people nearby… maybe one of THEM did it!" Also, that's from 2011.

The second one:

Quote

According to Avery’s court filing, Tadych’s “previous experiences with the court system show him to be a violent and impulsive person, particularly towards women.”

Uhh, Steven Avery was violent and impulsive, particularly toward women. He ran one off the road after masturbating in front of her car and held a gun to her head. His girlfriend Joni (?) took a restraining order out on him. He threatened the lives of his first wife if he didn't bring up his kids properly. He was incredibly and escalatingly violent toward women. He drew pictures of torture chambers and told fellow inmates what he was planning to do to women when he got out.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

You can't bash the lawyers based on the trial footage for not introducing evidence they weren't allowed to. Whether that evidence is reliable, whether the judge correctly excluded it, and whether Wisconsin's law on third-party liability is fair to defendants are all legitimate questions.

They're not legitimate questions. How far do you think this weird conspiracy goes? Now appeals court judges are in on all of it, too?

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

But this series just says the defense didn't provide a single shred of evidence (wrong), and then says their vague finger pointing at trial should be dismissed (but that's all their lawyers could do!).

If your defense is "other people could have done it because they may have been near the property" then you're going to lose.

6 hours ago, DeadMan said:

My personal feeling is that Avery should not have been convincted but I'm not convinced he's innocent either. There are too many holes in both sides of the story for me to come to any sort of conclusion. Let's be honest, though, the point of this documentary isn't whether Avery is guilty or innocent. If that's all you got from it, then watching it was wasted on you. It's about the justice system, not Steven Avery. There were many open questions on this case. 7 jurors initially voted not guilty. But Avery was still convicted. What does that say about our justice system?

It's not all I got from it, but I also don't think this was a failing criminal justice system. If it was, they'd have gotten some traction on their appeals, and those haven't gone anywhere.

Juries deliberate so that they can consider the entirety of the case.

I think justice was served. I think he planned to lure Teresa to his property. He planned to rape and kill her. He was escalating, and living out the plans he started laying in prison the first time. Then he forced or convinced a boy he'd previously molested into helping him.

5 hours ago, Silent said:

That's probably true, but that doesn't explain the broken seals. Someone broke those seals illegally, something went wrong there. Is that prove the blood was planted? No, that's still speculation, but it is highly suspisious.

How did they get non-blood DNA (like sweat or touch DNA) from Steven Avery? Why didn't the blood show the presence of EDTA? Because it was Steven's blood from his hand.

5 hours ago, Silent said:

I also strongly believe that Avery and Dassey are both guilty. But proven beyond all reasonable doubt? Mwah, especially in Dassey's case not at all in my opinion. That guy never had a fair trial, no physical evidence of him on the scene, only his own (inconsistent) confessions... and than to find him guilty of first degree murder.

A) They didn't find him guilty of first-degree murder, but of being party to one. I think there's a difference.
B) His confession(s) specifically corroborated very unknowable information.
C) If he hadn't gotten a fair trial he'd have likely gotten farther in his appeals.
D) He should have copped a plea and testified against Avery.

I think it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

I also wonder if he shouldn't have been deemed incompetent to stand trial. An IQ of 73 is pretty darn low.

5 hours ago, Silent said:

What is also shocking (and nothing to do with the current case, just wanted to mention it) is that nobody got punished or was found guilty regarding the 18 years of wrongfull imprisonment of Avery. The complete system failed there. Police made mistakes, but the jury never should have found him guilty; the only thing they had was the witness statement, which we all know is the most unreliable of all.

They considered his history of violence toward women. They considered the woman who was raped identifying Avery. It's an awfully big stretch to decide that the AG of Wisconsin was in on it too - particularly given the Governor and the AG were not the type to let corruption slide. Careers are made on exposing that type of corruption.

Sometimes the system fails, and it doesn't mean that it's necessarily someone's fault.


At the end of the day, I'm firmly convinced that Avery and Dassey did what they are purported to have done.

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3 hours ago, iacas said:

I disagree. His testimony specifically corroborates the physical evidence that exists. He knew details about the crime that he couldn't have just made up. The TV series skips over things like how Brendan said they put her in the back of the car, drove to the pond, and saw that it was dried out before they returned to burn the body.

It skips over a lot. And all of that is corroborated by Dassey's confession. A confession the series leads you to believe was badgered out of him, but all they did was tell him they knew he was lying. Because… they knew he was lying.

He also stood up to the badgering by the prosecutor in his own trial.

Which version, though? The one where Steven shot her outside the garage? The one where Brendan only saw her in the trunk of the car, but she wasn't dead? The one where she was dead before they got to the car? The one where she wasn't? The one where he wasn't involved at all. He tells multiple versions of the story, and I don't know how to tell the difference.

I'm also not sure what physical evidence backs his "correct" confession up, either. They only got the bullet in the garage after prompting him to tell them that it happened in the garage. They only got that Steven shot her in the head after they asked who shot her in the head. I don't know what physical evidence backs up the pond story, but I haven't heard any.

3 hours ago, iacas said:

It's not all I got from it, but I also don't think this was a failing criminal justice system. If it was, they'd have gotten some traction on their appeals, and those haven't gone anywhere.

Except overturning a verdict in a criminal case is exceptionally hard. And it becomes infinitely harder if you lose the first appeal. I put little stock in what happened on appeal. And you can still have cases where there isn't an issue that has a chance on appeal that are wrongly decided. 

I'm troubled by a lot of things in this, independent of whether Avery and Dassey are guilty:

  1. Cops interrogating a mentally disabled teenager without a parent or lawyer present. This happens frequently, by the way.
  2. A court appointed lawyer allowing a mentally disabled teenager to be interrogated without the lawyer present again.
  3. The Manitowoc County Sheriff's Department being involved in the investigation at all. They should have had nothing to do with this case given their massive conflict of interest.
  4. Cops not following up on leads that pointed to other suspects - the other Dassey kid, Halbach's roommate, and her ex-boyfriend, specifically.
  5. The cops in the initial rape case not following up on several leads that pointed to someone else.
  6. Avery's lawyers not being able to try the case they actually wanted to. My opinion is that Wisconsin's third party liability law is so restrictive that it violates due process. That's pretty out there, though, but I'm really bothered when a criminal defendant doesn't get a lot of latitude to defend himself. 
  7. Cops apparently having tunnel vision and confirmation bias. That does not speak to a well run police department.
  8. Over reliance on eyewitness evidence and confessions.
  9. Both sides using the media to try their cases. Bugs me more with prosecutors, because they have the weight of the state behind them, but so much came out in the media that it was impossible to try the case fairly.

I'm sure I could think of more, but this is the takeaway that I had. Our justice system is messed up. Nothing is perfect, but we could do a lot better.

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6 hours ago, iacas said:

How did they get non-blood DNA (like sweat or touch DNA) from Steven Avery? Why didn't the blood show the presence of EDTA? Because it was Steven's blood from his hand.

A) They didn't find him guilty of first-degree murder, but of being party to one. I think there's a difference.
B) His confession(s) specifically corroborated very unknowable information.
C) If he hadn't gotten a fair trial he'd have likely gotten farther in his appeals.
D) He should have copped a plea and testified against Avery.

I think it was proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

I didn't deny it was Steven's blood. Actually, I literally said that it doesn't mean his blood was planted. But the fact that not 1 but 2 seals were broken, shows something illegal happenend there. It doesn't say anything about guilty or not guilty, but it proves something is seriously wrong within that department.

About Dassey, his confessions changed every single time. I'm sure if you go cherry picking you find something that matches something you found. That doesn't change the fact that if he said something regarding the scene that is backed up by evidence, there's still a possibility Steven told him instead of Dassey being actually a part of it. There simply is no physical evidence that Dassey did what he said he did in one of his confessions. Do I think he did it? Yes, I think so... but I can't see how you can say it is proven beyond reasonable doubt and be 100% sure of it. 

 

6 hours ago, iacas said:

They considered his history of violence toward women. They considered the woman who was raped identifying Avery. It's an awfully big stretch to decide that the AG of Wisconsin was in on it too - particularly given the Governor and the AG were not the type to let corruption slide. Careers are made on exposing that type of corruption.

Sometimes the system fails, and it doesn't mean that it's necessarily someone's fault.

What I said, there was no evidence at all except the testimony/identification. That the several alibi's Avery had contradict that identification was easily swept off the table. In this case I never said someone was in on anything, I said serious mistakes were made that cost a man 18 years of his live, serving time for something he didn't do. 18 years! I said that with the evidence in hand, the jury never should have conficted him. I agree that it's not necessarily someone's fault, but in this case it is. The composition drawing that the sheriff made, not from the victim's testimony but from a earlier muckshot for example.... Not looking into other suspects. The steering of the witness ('that sounds like Steven Avery' etc. This is a clear example of both the systems failing ánd individuals messing up. Looking for a confiction instead of the truth.

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