The new season of Making a Murderer premieres Friday. So much has happened since the original premiere in 2015. The Netflix docuseries explored how Wisconsin man Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were in convicted in the brutal 2005 murder of photojournalist Teresa Halbach. Viewers were compelled by the idea that these two might have been wrongfully convicted. Netflix promises another 10 episodes helmed by filmmakers Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. This time, they’ll focus on the post-conviction fight over both defendants. Here’s what you need to know ahead of Friday’s release.
1. New Faces
Season 1 made Avery’s attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting famous, but they’re not representing him anymore. Lawyer Kathleen Zellner took over the case. In an affidavit released last July, the defendant claimed he thought that nephew Bobby Dassey and his sister’s third husband Scott Tadych were “involved in the murder.” Avery previously claimed cops framed him by planting his blood in Halbach’s SUV.
You may not see much, if any, of Dassey’s former lawyer Len Kachinsky. He was charged in July for felony stalking and other charges.
Dassey is currently represented by Northwestern University Law professors Steven Drizin and Laura Nirider.
2. No Retrial for Avery
As things stand, Avery isn’t getting a retrial. He has tried and failed to get one. Judge Angela W. Sutkiewicz slapped down one such attempt last November. She construed the defense’s endeavors as rushed.
In its numerous filings after October 6th, the defense submits a substantial amount of what it calls newly discovered evidence. That characterization is incorrect. The defendant chose to submit a motion on June 7, 2017, with, as he asserts, the need for further scientific testing to be done to support claims that he argued in his original motion. In the subsequent documents, the defense outlines new arguments and new theories of the case for the court to consider. What is missing in the wealth of arguments and documentation is any explanation as to why the defendant filed his motion on June 7, 2017, knowing that further scientific testing was required to complete his motion and that considerable investigation was still being conducted by the defense.
Another attempt at a retrial failed last month.
3. No Freedom for Dassey
Dassey came way, way closer to freedom than his uncle. The U.S. Supreme Court dashed his hopes in decisive fashion, however.
A federal court overturned Dassey’s conviction 2016, saying his videotaped confession was involuntary. But Wisconsin prosecutors refused to let this slide. They appealed. No success. They lost again in the 7th Circuit. All the momentum belonged to Dassey, but then prosecutors got the 7th Circuit bench to hear the case en banc. This time the state got their way. Judges rule 4-3 on the prosecution’s behalf: Dassey’s confession was to be treated as voluntary.
Now it was the defense’s turn to appeal. They filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court. Only four justices needed to agree to hear the case, and the court battle would resume. It wasn’t to be, however. The petition was denied.
Dassey still has some options, however.
[Screengrab via Netflix]