Judge turns down Avery's latest request for new trial over CD evidence


    Steven Avery (WLUK file image)

    MANITOWOC, Wis. (WLUK) -- A judge denied Steven Avery’s latest motion for a new trial.

    Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, are serving life prison terms for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. The case gained worldwide attention with the 2015 release of Netflix's "Making A Murderer."

    In his latest appeal, Avery’s attorneys contended that because the state failed to turn over a compact disc with various reports, Avery was entitled to a new trial.

    However, Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz, who handles the case at the circuit court level, denied the motion in an 11-page decision.

    What the prosecution failed to turn over to the defense was not the key information that the defense argues was critical to his case, but the summary impressions and compilation of information created by an investigator in this matter. The state provided and the defendant was in possession of the information that he considered critical to his defense months before trial. In light of all the evidence submitted, it is clear that the defense was in possession of the same evidence as the prosecution prior to trial.

    Judge Sutkiewicz said she did not have the authority from the Court of Appeals to review a claim Avery’s trial attorneys were ineffective by fully examining the CDs which were turned over.

    If the defendant did not open the evidence disclosed to him and was unaware that the specialized software was necessary to study it until his post conviction proceedings, he was not deprived of access to the information; trial counsel simply chose not to review it. This strategic choice would have been made by the defense, rather than the result of the prosecution withholding any information.

    Avery could appeal the decision.

    In June, the United States Supreme Court denied Dassey’s request to review his case. He has no active appeals.

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