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Making a Murderer

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Kubla Kahn, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. Kubla Kahn

    Kubla Kahn
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    So in the grand internet tradition of arguing and debating half a story. I am going to assume, for the purpose of the thread, since it's been on Netflix for a while now we've all seen it and don't need spoiler tags. Surprise he was convicted!



    Maybe we can have TVI give us a good description of reasonable doubt and lawyerly things involved with the show. Even as one sided as the doc was I don't feel like the defense's charge of framing gave me enough to reasonably believe he didn't kill that girl. Even if the defense doesn't have to explain how someone else could have abducted the girl, killed her, burned her corpse, then somehow dumped her body in his back yard and knew the police would rise to the level of framing the dude, that as an explanation or possibility of why Avery didn't do it is quite a stretch.

    Like Serial this has divided people into two camps, he was framed/completely innocent, or he's guilty but you couldn't convict based on the show's information. Like Serial I felt like there was a whole half missing from the story. Turns out the nephew's confession actually had a lot more details that fit with the evidence on the scene than you are lead to believe in the doc. There was non blood DNA found on the hood latch of the car that matched Avery (of course if you believe the cops were planting blood evidence, "finding" sweat dna doesn't seem to be far off). The bullet found with her dna on it matched a .22 rifle over Avery's bed. Im sure as the whole court transcript is uploaded to the internet we'll know a fuller picture of the prosecutions case.

    Another thing I wonder about as I have really never looked into the background of how evidence is included or excluded before the trial. They seem to horse trade some stuff that you'd think is valid information. The fact that Teresa requested not to go back out to their place because of an earlier incident of Avery coming to the door in a towel was withheld from the trial. Ive read that it was excluded but you'd think any interaction between the deceased and the suspect would be included in a trial. There were three calls from Avery to Teresa, two of which were masked with *67on the day of her disappearance, but that was included.

    Discuss
     
  2. Nettdata

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    Adam Carolla has a podcast with Mark Garagos called Reasonable Doubt. This episode they talk about the case with one of the defence attorneys: http://www.podcastone.com/pg/jsp/program/episode.jsp?programID=793&pid=603105

    Worth a listen.

    For those of you who don't know who Garagos is, he's a pretty famous defence attorney in LA, where he's defended the likes of Michael Jackson, Sott Peterson, Gary Condit, etc.
     
  3. Zach

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  4. The Village Idiot

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    Ok, I've seen 9 episodes - through the conviction of Dassey. Here are my initial legal thoughts:

    First and foremost - it is up to the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Avery committed the acts charged, not the other way around. This proof has to be subject to a standard called admissibility.

    Although the foregoing seems trivial, it is vital.

    Second, 'not guilty' does not mean 'innocent.' There's a whole spectrum. "Beyond a Reasonable Doubt' is the highest burden of proof in our legal system.

    And without further ado.

    My main problem with the prosecution is they pulled a fast one (I'll get to the cops later, and more specifics) - essentially, they blast the 'Brendan Dassey' confession all over the news, including details. I have zero doubt that every potential juror in Wisconsin was aware of those 'details.' This already, in the minds of the potential jurors, shifts the burden to the defense. So right from the legal get go, Avery is battling uphill.

    Ok, let's look (based on the doc) as to what we actually know (meaning, the stuff that both sides agreed).

    1. The car found on the Avery property was the victim's.
    2. The victim was at the property on Oct. 31.
    3. The bones in three locations were those of the victim.
    4. Some of the blood in the car was the victim's, some was Avery's.

    Now, as lawyer, that's some pretty decent undisputed evidence. You have the victim at the property, you have her car, you have her bones, and her blood in the back of the car. Now, beyond that almost all of the other evidence is disputed. Let me say I think there's a shitload of reasonable doubt here (and subsequently, based on the excused juror's comments, the initial vote by the jury had a majority (7) - saying 'not guilty.'), but in no way am I saying Steven Avery is innocent. The fact is, I don't know. Frankly, given the investigation and the prosecution, I don't think they know either.

    There were a couple of rulings that really bugged me and I'd like to know more about:

    1. Why was the defense barred from naming any other potential suspect? This was huge.
    2. Why was the defense barred from introducing cell phone evidence that the victim's account was accessed on Nov 2, 2 days after Avery killed allegedly killed her?

    Why are these rulings important? Because juries need to hear a story. The prosecution got to tell a story (even if they didn't present it at the actual trial because Dassey's confession was so suspect). All the defense could really go with is Avery didn't do it, and here's how the evidence got there. Remember the ex boyfriend accessed the victim's voicemail account by his own admission? Remember the victim was dodging someone's calls? The prosecution got to put on evidence that the phone use stopped on Oct 31, but the defense was prevented from showing that the account was accessed later. They also couldn't name the ex boyfriend. Or anyone else.

    The whole prosecution story was based on Dassey's confession. The parts I saw were horrendous. This is a 16 year old kid, with an IQ @70 in special ed classes. You also come to find out the investigators 'rick rolled' the kids. Meaning, they couldn't get anything they wanted out of the adults initially, so they go after Brendan and Kayla (his 15 year old cousin). Then go back and forth saying 'oh, this one said this about you, is that true?' then, using what the other one said go back to the first one. They do this several times. To say Dassey was impressionable is putting it mildly.

    To the 'pro prosecution people' I ask this:

    If you believe Dassey's version of events, where is the DNA? It should have been all over that trailer and garage. Yet, on over 700 pieces of evidence, the only DNA that was found (potentially) was on the bullet that was missed in several searches. And, that DNA finding was suspect - remember how the lab admitted the technician's DNA came back on the bullet as well? And that the sample was a one off and contaminated and that there policy and procedure was that if that happened, the results were 'inconclusive' and not actually what they said? If the 'sample' was contaminated with the tech's DNA, couldn't it have been contaminated with the victim's as well (which is precisely why the result should have been inconclusive)?

    So essentially, if you think Avery did it, in order to fit the evidence, you have to believe that Avery killed the girl, completely sanitized his trailer and garage but for missing a lone bullet, put Theresa in her car, drove her body several yards to the burn pit, and burned her body there, took out several of the bones and moved them to the burn barrel and quarry, and took the bullet and dumped it in his garage. Otherwise, you have believe that he killed her elsewhere, put her body in the car, drove to another location, burned her body there, left a couple of bones at the quarry and the burn barrel, then put the rest in his burn pit. Either scenario would fit the evidence: Avery's DNA in the car, victim's DNA in the car, car on the property, victim's bones on the property, bullet with 'DNA' results in garage. You also have to believe that Avery was such a master criminal that he was smart enough, if Dassey's version is true, to completely from a forensic standpoint sanitize the trailer and garage, yet be dumb enough to leave the car (when he had unfettered access to a crusher) and bones in a burn pit (despite having access to a smelter which is much hotter). None of those scenarios make any sense to me, given the evidence I've seen.

    And notice, I'm not getting into the cops' mishandling of the case from the get go. I'll address more of this story later.
     
  5. Kubla Kahn

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  6. The Village Idiot

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    Note: I'm happy to look at and respond to things regarding this documentary from a legal standpoint, however, if you (the collective) are going to reference information OUTSIDE of the doc merely saying 'it didn't say in the doc but...' without a cite to where you're getting that information is not helpful in the least in analyzing the situation. I have no doubt that this doc has a slant, a pro defense one, which is fine. But merely saying 'oh there was other information' without providing the source of that information isn't helpful.

    And here, you appear to be doing exactly what I cautioned against. Why is it up to the defense to show you how someone else did it, yet the prosecution didn't do so with Avery? Each state does 3rd party liability law differently. And generally it's not slander if you merely point out the existence of other potential suspects with motives. I agree, having a solid 'the other guy did it' defense would require far more evidence than shown, but again, the defense wasn't allowed to do so by ruling.


    I remember the supervisor part, but where are you getting that the calls came from Avery? I'm not saying they didn't, but that wasn't in the doc.

    But again, the whole point of the doc is that the police never really looked at anyone else.

    Again, where are you getting this? I'm not saying you're wrong, however I've only seen the doc (and since the thread is about the doc haven't followed up on outside information) - I can't evaluate something if I don't know where it came from. I'm aware a lot of people are 'saying' his confession had a lot of details not in the doc, but what exactly? And if so, why did the prosecution not use it? Especially considering what a difficult time they had explaining the narrative about how and why Avery and Dassey did it.


    Again, where is this coming from? Citation?

    Yes, it was. But the point is she contaminated the sample with her DNA. Given the fact that she was working on the Halbach case, and had her DNA, isn't it just as possible that she contaminated that sample with the victim's DNA as well?

    Ok, what were the 'non wild' claims? Again, I have the documentary to reference, so if the information is coming from outside the documentary I need to know what the information 'actually' is and where it came from. And what is the prosecution's case? Is it 'she came to the property, he killed her and burned her?' Ok, many cases are made on information such as that, but they don't really seem to explain a narrative that makes sense.

    Look, I don't think Avery is a good guy. Truth be told, I think he's a pretty shitty human being. However, that solely shouldn't be the basis for a conviction. So 'bad acts' on the part of Avery that have nothing to do with the crime don't mean anything to me in this context.
     
  7. Kubla Kahn

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    Sorry, yeah Ill find the sites I read the outside the doc info. I had read them over the past few weeks and not really kept them bookmarked in the case that I get into a decent discussion of this case. I didn't have time to go back last night before I posted that and I figured you'd want the citations. Ill try and find them after work tonight.

    Ill try to keep within the doc for a moment. The doc itself didn't give a clear explanation at all of either what the prosecution argued or what the defense argued was the timeline of events. The simple "undisputed" facts you listed for me present an Occam's Razor argument. The prosecutions laying out the simple facts that she was last seen at his place, her burned remains and personal items were found literally feet from his back door, and witness confession that lined up with Avery doing it (had Dassey mentioned ANYONE else being involved in some capacity would give some serious reasons for doubt). To poke holes in that with vast conspiracies involving crooked cops planting evidence strains credulity.

    Decent New Yorker Article laying out the flaws in the doc and what real flaws our system creates.
     
  8. The Village Idiot

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    This article is utterly useless from the standpoint of shedding any light on how the prosecution presented a decent case. While it does talk about Dassey's confession regarding the battery cable - and yes, DNA evidence can easily be 'transferred' if an investigator is not removing gloves when searching the car. And further, the article does a shitty job of citing where that info came from. Which confession? What was the series of questions? Did you review the video tape? And if this particular evidence was so super fried awesome, why didn't the DA use it? He used everything he could, yet he'd leave this piece out? Especially when the police were accused of stealing blood and planting it? Wouldn't it have been nice to say 'oh, ok, well, let's say the blood was planted. How did this non-blood DNA get on the hood?' Yet, they go to the FBI to get them to create a test to prove the blood wasn't from the vial. Again, is it possible this is what truly happened? Sure. I wasn't there, I don't know. All I'm saying is from a legal standpoint these points make little sense.

    All this article says is 'the victim of the 85 assault didn't participate because she thought they had already made up their mind.' So, what does that mean? The assault victim, who got it wrong in the 85 case, is now right about a case that she wasn't involved in?

    The article does point out flaws in the system. But what it doesn't do is glaringly loud. Ok, fine, the documentary fails to show how it happened and leaves everyone with a muddled story. Fair enough criticism. But perhaps, do you think, the muddled story is the result of the police's failure to investigate the crime properly as opposed to some defense/documentary flaw? I do. That's my whole point with respect to the documentary - the story presented in it (and supposedly the prosecution theory) - is very muddled. It makes zero sense. But that's not the fault of the filmmakers necessarily. If the prosecution's case made sense, then I'm all ears. I have no horse in this race, I don't ultimately care if he's guilty or not, I do care greatly about the proof and trial used to convict him. And from what I saw, in both cases, it was very suspect.

    Again, I'm not saying Avery is innocent. I'm only saying the prosecutions case as presented in the documentary doesn't make sense to me. There are all kinds of questions (i.e. doubts) about the methodology employed by the police as well as the DA.
     
  9. Kubla Kahn

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