Chances of success for petitions calling for 'Making a Murderer' subject's pardon 'just about zero'

Petitions gain hundreds of thousands of signatures

GREEN BAY, WI -- As the Steven Avery case continues to gain nationwide attention, two petitions now circulating online are asking President Obama to pardon Avery.

Both Avery and his nephew were found guilty of the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach.
 
But can these petitions actually make a difference?
Hundreds of thousands of signatures between the two petitions show the 10-part Netflix documentary focusing on Avery's case has captured the public's eye. 
 
But any change in Avery's case won't likely come from a petition, according to legal experts.
 
If "Making a Murderer" has done one thing, it has opened the door for national opinion to envelop a case that has been dividing Wisconsinites since 2005. 
"It shows that someone can be convicted if they're not guilty," says defense attorney Avi Berk. "Did it happen once here? Yes. Did it happen a second time here? I think that's the question." 
 
By 8 p.m. Monday, a petition on Change.Org, calling for Avery's pardon was just 77,000 signatures shy of its 300,000 goal.
 
Underneath it is a sea of angry social media comments, such as "this case needs to re-open!!" and "help this man!!"
There are also pleas over Twitter for Governor Walker to intervene.
 
"The odds that this petition could work are just about zero," says Berk, who covered the Avery case closely as it unfolded.
 
He says any decision would likely come from a legal avenue. 
 
"There's appeals, which I believe have been taken in this case," says Berk. "There are also Federal Habeas Corpus petitions, [and] the Innocence Project, which worked once for Steven Avery before." 
It's a reality that also isn't likely to stop the public from weighing in. 
 
One thing this documentary has potential to stir interest in: serving on a jury.
 
Berk says he hopes those that watch it also recognize the importance of having a say in the justice system.
 
The petition on the White House's website is still 71,000 signatures away from warranting a response from the White House. 
 

 

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