Here’s the White House’s response to the “Making a Murderer” petition

Since Making a Murderer’s Netflix debut, audiences have struggled to answer this one fundamental question: how were Steven Avery and Brandon Dassey found guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt?

The circumstances surrounding Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s murder convictions in 2005 have prompted many to question the ethics of the American justice system. Viewers who believed the pair were unfairly tried by the state of Wisconsin signed multiple petitions, asking the President of the United States to pardon them.

One petition, created on the White House website on Dec. 20, claimed that there was “clear evidence that the Manitowoc County sheriff’s department used improper methods to convict both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.” In spite of exceeding the 100,000 signatures required for the White House to address the petition, it proved to be futile.

“Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them,” the White House stated online. “A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities.”

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who actually has the power to pardon the pair, has already made it clear that he has no intention of doing so.

“Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court,” Laurel Patrick, Scott Walker’s press secretary, said to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday.

All hope is not lost, though. According to Avery’s defense attorney, Jerry Buting, the docuseries has given them some new leads. “Scientists from all over the world have been contacting us with different approaches to present scientific evidence…that would demonstrate his innocence,” he told BBC‘s Today.

Steve Avery, now 53, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Brendan Dassey is also serving a life sentence, and will be eligible for parole in 2048.

(Image via Netflix)

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