Avery's defense team ask for new judge, U.S. Supreme Court sets new date for Dassey

Steven Avery (AP photo)

MANITOWOC (WLUK) – Steven Avery’s defense team is asking for a new judge. And the U.S. Supreme Court has a set a new date for a discussion of Brendan Dassey’s case.

Avery and Dassey are appealing their convictions for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach; Avery in state court, Dassey in federal court.

Manitowoc County Judge Patrick Willis presided over Avery’s trial, but since his retirement, Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz has handled motions at the circuit level.

Recently, a state appeals court ruled that the defense should file a motion with the circuit court regarding a claim of newly-discovered evidence, in the form of a CD the defense says was never provided to Avery’s lawyers before trial.

But in a 7-page motion, Kathleen Zellner asks Judge Sutkiewicz to take herself off the case, and for it to be returned to a Manitowoc County judge. She also cites other legal arguments:

“In the instant case, the court of appeals directive on remand requires the circuit court to evaluate Mr. Avery’s supplemental postconviction motion and “enter written findings and conclusions[.]” The order contemplates that the circuit court may grant or deny Mr. Avery’s supplemental petition. In short, the order grants the circuit court unfettered discretion to resolve the merits of Mr. Avery’s supplemental postconviction claims which may grant him the relief he is seeking and result in the dismissal of the pending appeal. Because the appellate court’s order requires the circuit court to exercise its discretion in discharging its duties on remand, the mandate requires “further proceedings” to which the unqualified right of substitution attaches,” she wrote.

The state has not yet responded to the motion, filed Thursday, and no hearing has been scheduled on it.

Meanwhile, Dassey is appealing a decision to the United States Supreme Court by a federal appeals court which upheld his conviction in the case.

The justices are now scheduled to discuss Dassey’s case on Thursday. If four of the justices agree to hear the case, oral arguments would be scheduled. If not, the lower court ruling – and the conviction – would stand.

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