'Making a Murderer' has had a huge impact on the viewing public, with fans of the Netflix documentary series talking about little else since the series was released over Christmas.
Spoiler alert: This article reports the implications of Netflix's 'Making A Murderer'
One viewer, Mike Seyedian, was so incensed by the events he saw on screen, he was moved to start two petitions, campaigning for the freedom of the two men, Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey, whose trials for murder were the subject of the series.
Viewers who've already watched the series, which premiered last month, say it has caused them to lose faith in the police, local government, and America's legal system. And now hundreds of thousands of them have been spurred into action.
'Making a Murderer' has been described as one of Netflix's most important ever series
230,000 people have signed the two petitions. Citing the documentary's suggestion of local law enforcement corruption, one petition argues for the exoneration of Avery "at once by Presidential pardon," and that "Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable". Brendan Dassey is the subject of the accompanying petition.
Now, Mike Seyedian explains to HuffPostUK his reasons for starting his campaigns through Change.Org. He says: "For me, the documentary started out as casual entertainment. As it progressed I found myself getting more and more outraged at the treatment of Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery at the hands of law enforcement, the justice system, and the media. I felt that I was witnessing a record of abuse, a perfect storm of injustice."
Mike adds that it doesn't necessarily mean that he's assured of their innocence, only that, based on what he watched, he's not convinced their guilt has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
"It's important to consider the other side, other possibilities. The documentary is absolutely biased. But I argue that it had to be because the criminal justice system was biased against Avery and Dassey. That's a heavy prejudice to contend with: to try to tip the scales of justice back to a level of fairness after they have been skewed by the hand that holds them."
Read Mike's full blog here...
'Making a Murderer' has been the subject of intense speculation since it launched on 18 December. The series recounts the story of Steven Avery, a man who was imprisoned for the sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, until fresh DNA investigation proved the police had found the wrong man. After he was released after 18 years, he began a compensation claim against Manitowoc County and several county officials associated with his first arrest.
During this process, however, he was charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach, found guilty and is currently serving a life sentence, alongside his nephew. It is these convictions that are the subjects of Mike Seyedian's petitions, huge numbers of viewers' tweets, with many petitioning for President Obama to intervene and pardon the pair.
Amid the growing calls for a review of the case, Avery continues to serve a life sentence in Wisconsin's Waupun Correctional Institution, while Dassey remains at the state's Green Bay Correctional Institution.
'Making A Murderer' is on Netflix in Britain and the United States - available to stream now.
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