Making a Murderer premiered on Netflix just a few short weeks ago, but its impact on the media has already been tremendous. The series drew attention to Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey’s legal troubles surrounding the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. It also riled viewers up about the U.S. justice system as a whole.
Though it’s been over a decade since Steven and Brendan went to prison, the defense is still hard at work. Avery’s defense lawyer Dean Strang has made it clear that he isn’t giving up. In addition to supporting Avery, he also sees this case as a way to share how the system is broken. In other words, Steven Avery’s story is not a one-time occurrence; it’s just the only one with its own smash hit of a Netflix documentary.
But for now, Strang is re-focusing on the case. And he needs one thing above all else: new evidence. How can he go about finding that? The good news is, a lot’s changed since the mid-2000s.
“I’ve gotten a flood of ideas, potential leads, thoughts, or advice about scientific testing that might be done,” Strang said in an interview with Refinery29. “Scientific techniques that might be available now, or that are available now that weren’t available in 2007, more economical ways to do scientific testing than were available in ’07 or ’06 or ’05. You know and when I say potential leads on other things and ideas, I mean possible new factual information.”
The Internet has played a big role in furthering Avery’s case. Whether it’s by examining the facts on Reddit or providing Strang with techniques he might not have considered before, he’s hard at work on something. Is there anything in particular that he’s finding useful?
“So there’s been really kind of an avalanche of that information to me,” he continued. “I think that Jerry Buting, and although I haven’t talked to him about it, I’ll bet that the Brendan Dassey lawyers are getting the same kind of information. And right now I don’t know what, if any of that, will pan out as important.”
Many petitions have circulated the Internet, urging the Judiciary to pardon Avery, or at least re-examine his and Dassey’s trials. But instead of signing petitions, Strang offers an idea of what you can do instead.
“Really for most people, I think the most productive thing they can do is not focus on two individual — albeit compelling, cases in one county, in one state in the United States — but rather, start focusing on their own dinner table, in their own workplace, in their own community,” he said. “And I think that just really does start in conversation.”
There are no concrete answers right now — none that we know of, anyway. Just know that Strang isn’t giving up — on both the case and exposing the system’s faults. And no matter what you personally think of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey, that’s an admirable and impressive thing.
“I think I have some duty to use the moment, to speak up about problems that I think I perceive by working in the criminal justice system,” Strang said.
(Featured image via Netflix.)