Netflix Stirs the Pot
Whether you’ve watched it or not, you must have heard or read something by now about the Netflix series Making A Murderer. If you’ve seen it, you undoubtedly have some strong opinions one way or the other regarding the outcome.
I don’t quite know how to put into words all the emotions that came after watching the series. Shame, anger, sadness, embarrassment; just off the top of my head. The prevailing sentiment -since the ones just listed aren’t powerful enough- was irrefutably fear.
Fear that those in power don’t always have the best intentions. Police officers and sheriffs, authority figures that many people would assume have a strict moral compass and an even stricter legal obligation to do what’s “right,” are merely human, and by that definition, imperfect. They are not infallible. They make mistakes. They are human beings who, whether knowingly or not, have their own set of prejudices and partialities.
Fear that there are hidden agendas the county or state has that stem from these less than honorable intentions. The police officer was just doing his job when he arrested Avery, and the sheriff was just doing his when he testified against him, right? The judge was doing his civil duty when he sentenced Avery for a crime that he may or may not have committed. That’s what it will look like if someone is reading over the case files, but it’s not that cut and dry. Manitowoc County obviously had a grudge against that family, and the state of Wisconsin had a lot at stake with that trial.
Fear that our rights can be so utterly trampled. Avery had a dozen eyewitness reports for not being anywhere in the vicinity of the sexual assault charge. The timeline didn’t match. Most importantly, there was a suspect already on the police’s radar who had a record of similar crimes who didn’t have an alibi. Whether you think Avery deserved to be locked up or not, you have to shake your head in disgust at the sheer laziness, and blatant disregard of civil liberties, of the Manitowoc police department.
Avery and his family were not sophisticated and well educated. Their name was held with utmost contempt in Manitowoc county, even before the allegations. The fact of the matter is, the police and most everyone in the area might not have had enough evidence, but they sure had enough prejudice. And that’s the most frightening thing of all; to realize that an honorable civil servant or a well-educated resident agreed w/ the wrongful allegations b/c they thought it was just the comeuppance Avery was due.
I watch a lot of Law and Order:SVU; hence: my legal knowledge is pretty legit. I’ve heard some great one-liners from Olivia and Elliot, but sometimes the defense has a real winner. The best way I can think to sum up this post is an obvious defense attorney argument: a gross miscarriage of justice. Whether Avery deserves to be sitting in prison or not, he was not afforded a fair trial. The system failed him from the start. And if it happened to him, who’s to say it can’t happen to you or me.