Imagine sitting in a jail cell for 18 years for a crime you did not commit. That is exactly what happened to Steven Avery, the man behind Netflix’s documentary, Making a Murderer.
The documentary follows the false conviction of Avery for a brutal sexual assault in 1985. Despite evidence of another possible perpetrator, Avery was convicted of the crime.
Steven Avery – From Exoneration to New Murder Charges
In 2003, Avery gets exonerated, based on DNA evidence that was not available at the trial at the time. The documentary highlights the failures that occurred by the police department and trial to lead to such an extreme mistake. The documentary continues as Avery is later charged again in 2005 for the murder Teresa Halbach.
Some say that Avery was framed for the murder of Halbach and that he is again serving time for a crime he did not commit. While evidence is coming in daily regarding this issue, one cannot overlook the original wrong conviction and not be outraged by the way the investigated and trail was performed. This one wrong conviction can make you question the judicial system and its ability to protect the innocent.
Sadly, Avery is not the only individual who has served time for a crime they did not commit. An organization called, The Innocence Project, helps to bring awareness to injustice and assists to exonerate individuals based on DNA results. They have reports that gives details about those who have been exonerated. Here are some of their results:
- 377 Individuals have been exonerated by DNA evidences in the United States
- The average length of time served by exonerates is 14 years.
- 206 of those that were exonerated were African American, 104 Caucasian, 25 Latinos, and 2 Asian Americans
- There have been 156 people on Death Row that were exonerated. DNA placed a substantial factor in 20 of those cases.
While the wrongly accused individuals sat behind bars, the actual perpetrator roamed free. According to Innocence Project, those that actually were the perpetrates went on to be convicted of 148 additional crimes, including 77 sexual assaults, 34 murders, and 35 other violent crimes. The injustice in these cases can feel overwhelming.
Not all stories look exactly like Steven Avery’s. There are many reasons that a convicted felon could be exonerated. While having DNA proof makes a very strong case, there are other reasons for a convicted felon to be pardoned.
For example, Troy Lee Jones was convicted of the murder of Carolyn Grayson in 1981 and served 14 years on death row. The count found that the defense attorney failed to conduct an adequate pretrial investigation, speak with possible witnesses, obtain a relevant police report, or seek pretrial investigation funds. It was in November of 1996 that the prosecution announced that it would drop all charges against Jones due to being misrepresented.
For Troy Lee Jones, he was simply misrepresented which ended him on death row for 14 years. There are more stories of the individuals who were either acquitted of all charges, charges were dismissed by the prosecution or a complete pardon was given.
When it comes to stories like those of Steven Avery and Tony Lee Jones, it can cause you to question our judicial system. No one should ever have to serve time for a crime that they did not commit.
It is our goal at The David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC is to diligently fight for our clients and to ensure that nothing like these cases ever happens again. If you or a loved one have been wrongly convicted of a crime, know that you have rights and there is hope. As criminal defense attorneys, helping those have been convicted of murder is an area we specialize. Contact us today.
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