Like many who watched Making a Murderer, I was extremely upset by what I saw. It wasn't just another series that I could put behind me and move on. I felt compelled to lend my support to Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey in some way.
So, I started a petition for each of them on Change.org. I didn't anticipate that it would amass the amount of support and attention that it has. It's very humbling and inspiring. It's encouraging to see how many caring people are out there, ready to spur into action so passionately when they perceive injustices being committed.
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.
We'd like to believe that our justice system is flawless. Those who operate the system would like us to believe that too. But here we have an overwhelming amount of documented evidence showing how human nature can pervert the process. It doesn't take an expert to put the pieces together and see that something isn't right with these cases. Jurors are not experts and they are given the power of the verdict. We are the jurors in the court of public opinion.
The vast majority of feedback I have received for the petition has been positive, which has reinforced my belief that Dassey and Avery are innocent and that starting a petition was the right thing to do. A few people have expressed their intense opposition to it. Their perspective is that I, along with the other signers, are outsiders who were swayed by a popular TV show without bothering to look at all the facts beyond those presented in the series.
I can see where they are coming from. 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. Also, the filmmakers stated that the prosecution's side was given the opportunity to express their opinions for the documentary, which they declined to do.
If there is further evidence that might sway public opinion, then it is up to those with access to it to present it. Just like in court. The evidence presented in Making a Murderer was not tainted or altered. It was selectively chosen and sequenced as to present a picture of why Brendan Dassey and Steven Avery are behind bars serving life sentences. I believe that its portrayal is accurate and compelling. I believe that Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey were wrongfully accused, tried, convicted, and imprisoned. That is why I started petitions demanding that they be pardoned. In my opinion, their guilt hasn't been proved beyond any reasonable doubt.