Attorneys for Avery, the state, file letters with judge in 'Making a Murderer' case
MANITOWOC, Wis. (WLUK) – There were new developments in the Steven Avery case Thursday, as attorneys on both sides argued their positions with the courts.
Avery is serving a life prison term for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach but is continuing to appeal his conviction.
His attorney, Kathryn Zellner, wrote Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz – who is handling the post-conviction motions - to say she is asking the state appeals court to dismiss its proceedings in the Avery case.
“We have filed this motion so that this Court will have jurisdiction on all claims raised in the latest post-conviction motion of Mr. Avery,” Zellner wrote.
No decision has been made by the appeals court on whether it will grant the request to close the appeal.
The motions before Judge Sutkiewicz include multiple motions and requests for scientific testing. But in a separate, seven-page letter to the judge, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Fallon argues the judge lacks the power to act on all but three of Avery’s claims.
“As discussed above, only three of the many claims raised in Mr. Avery’s latest postconviction motion are based on the results of that testing. The Court lacks jurisdiction to act on any of the other claims in the latest postconviction motion,” Fallon wrote. “Therefore, this Court has acted within the bounds of the appellate remand. This Court issued an order based on a stipulation of the parties and granted the motion for postconviction scientific testing. The testing requested has apparently been completed. The Court has done all that it can unless Mr. Avery wishes the Court to address the three items that do relate to the original order. If not, the matter should be returned to the appellate court for further proceedings.”
Neither the letter from Fallon nor Zellner responds to the issues raised by the other.
No hearings have been scheduled in the case.
Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, had his conviction in the case overturned by a federal judge and federal appeals court tribunal, but the state is appealing those rulings. Dassey is also serving a life sentence.
The case has gained worldwide attention in the past year and a half with the 2015 release of the Netflix original documentary series "Making A Murderer." That series casts doubt on the investigation and the convictions of both Avery and Dassey.