Kathleen Zellner Taking Over Steven Avery Case
Lawyer Kathleen Zellner announced in a press release Friday that her law firm will be representing Steven Avery in legal proceedings from here on out with the help of Wisconsin lawyer Tricia Bushnell. Bushnell is the Legal Director of the Midwest Innocence Project.
Steven Avery is currently serving a sentence of life in prison for the murder of Teresa Halbach. The case and his conviction were the subject of Netflix’s hit documentary series, Making A Murderer.
The White House recently responded to an online petition that garnered almost 390,000 signatures through Change.org. The White House’s response explained the the U.S. Constitution gives the President the “power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for offenses against the United States.” Steven Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted of state crimes in Wisconsin and can only be pardoned at the state level.
Multiple other online petitions have been started in the name of Avery and Dassey. Marah Eakin of A.V. Club is among those calling for people to really think before starting an online petition.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has vowed to grant zero pardons during his time in office. He also tweeted about the case earlier today.
Viewers of Netflix series on Steven Avery should read unanimous Court of Appeals opinion b4 jumping to conclusions: https://t.co/Uzmc3M481B
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) January 11, 2016
The opinion Gov. Walker linked to was issued by the Court of Appeals in Wisconsin in 2011. The opinion strikes down each of three challenges made by Avery, including one made regarding the sixth search of his trailer home by police.
Kathleen Zellner made local news in 2013 when her team helped free Ryan Ferguson of Columbia, Missouri. Ferguson spent nearly a decade in prison for the murder of Kent Heitholt. Ferguson was convicted of the murder without any physical evidence linking him to the crime. His former friend Chuck Erickson went to police two years after the murder to confess to police that he and Ferguson were responsible for the unsolved murder. Erickson originally went to police after he said he had been having dreams about him and Ferguson committing the crime. Footage of Erickson’s interrogation by police stunned those following the case, just like footage of Brendan Dassey’s interrogation stunned Making A Murderer viewers.
Jerry Trump, a janitor at the Columbia Tribune where Heitholt worked and was murdered, testified at the trial that he saw Ferguson and Erickson at the crime scene. Zellner and her team got both Erickson and Trump to recant their testimony from the trial.
Filmmaker Andrew Jenks produced a feature-length documentary about Ferguson’s case and his father’s journey to prove his son’s innocence. Dream/Killer is being released on February 9, 2016. Zellner joined Ferguson and Jenks when it premiered at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Watch the trailer for Dream/Killer below.
Zellner has won the release of more than 16 men imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit, including Ferguson. No other private attorney in the country can top that. Zellner is also currently working on the case of Melissa Calusinski, a former day care worker sent to prison for 31 years in the death of 16-month-old Benjamin Kingan.
For more information of Kathleen Zellner and her career, visit the Law Offices of Kathleen T. Zellner & Associates website. Kathleen Zellner also is active on Twitter under the handle @ZellnerLaw. She tweeted about Steven Avery’s innocence several days before publicly announcing she was taking his case. The tweet has since been deleted.
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