A petition to pardon the subject of Netflix’s Making a Murderer is currently the most popular petition on Change.org and has been for more than a week.
The petition asks President Obama and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to pardon to Steven Avery, who is currently serving a life sentence for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Calumet County, Wisconsin. It has garnered nearly 350,000* signatures since it was launched two weeks ago.
While 41% of signatures came from the U.S., people have signed the petition in 144 countries including the UK, Canada, Zambia, India, and Qatar.
The growth of the petition has been swift. Sunday, January 3, the petition stood at just 100,000 signatures. The almost 250%* growth since then is due to promotion of the petition on social media (by celebrities in particular), as well as articles about the petition in many high profile publications including USA Today, Mashable, and Time, among others.
“After viewing [Making a Murderer], I am outraged with the injustices which have been allowed to compound and left unchecked in the case of Steven Avery of Manitowoc County in Wisconsin, U.S.A,” wrote the petition starter, Michael Seyedian. “Avery's unconstitutional mistreatment at the hands of corrupt local law enforcement is completely unacceptable and is an abomination of due process.”
Making a Murderer is a 10-part documentary that follows the story of Steven Avery, a man who was convicted of sexual assault, imprisoned for 18 years, and exonerated by DNA evidence, only to be arrested and convicted two years later for the murder of Teresa Halbach. It questions his two convictions over the 30 year period and examines allegations of police and prosecutorial misconduct.
The documentary also follows the story of Brendan Dassey, Avery’s nephew, who was convicted of being a party to Halbach’s murder as well as sexual assault. He is serving a life sentence. Seyedian also started a petition to pardon Dassey, which has garnered more than 22,000 signatures.
Making of a Murderer was filmed by Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi over 10 years and premiered December 18th on Netflix. On December 22, the Innocence Project -- which helped to exonerate Avery of his sexual assault conviction -- said that they were looking into some aspects of his case. The prosecutor in that case claims that the documentary left out the evidence that ultimately convicted Avery.
Do you think Steven Avery should be pardoned? If so, you can sign the petition here.
*This post has been updated since its original publishing to reflect a new signature count. This signature count is current as of January 7, 2016 at 2 PM PST.
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