×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Making a Murderer’ Defendants Still Feeling Impact From Series

Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” swept up audiences with the story of Steven Avery, who had previously been exonerated for a crime after spending 18 years in prison, and Brendan Dassey, his nephew, as murder suspects in the killing of Teresa Halbach in 2005. The series brought to the fore questions about the tactics used by law enforcement and the prosecution. But the impact of the Netflix series went beyond stunning audiences and generating a White House petition for the release of Avery.

Steven Drizin, who works at the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, is Dassey’s current lawyer. [Dassey was convicted of murder, among other charges, in 2007 when he was 17.] Drizin believes he knows why the series has struck a chord with millions of viewers. “I think the series has really opened people’s eyes to just how overzealous law enforcement can be in their efforts to gain a conviction at all costs,” he says.

For Dassey’s case in particular, Drizin says, it “has raised serious concerns about how police officers interrogate suspects, particularly youthful suspects.” The series has also served to “educate people about the problem of false and coerced confessions.” Not only that, but it has also called into question whether “police officers and prosecutors in the zeal to win cases are willing to trample on suspects’ basic constitutional rights, even to go so far as to plant evidence.”

On the flipside, while the series has created clouded perspectives about law enforcement, it has uplifted certain areas of the legal system.

“For the first time, in my lifetime, two of the heroes are criminal defense attorneys — [Steven Avery co-counsels] Dean Strang and Jerry Buting. They are being praised for fighting like hell on behalf of a client who was accused of committing the most awful of crimes,” Drizin says. “You don’t see defense attorneys getting that kind of acclaim very often.”

Drizin thinks that the overall impact of the series has created a chance for Dassey.

“The fact that so many people are outraged by what they saw gives me hope that this could be a real opportunity for change,” says Drizin.

More TV

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content