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The Plight of Steven Avery

The movie and TV streaming service, Netflix, has forever changed our society. By crushing movie rental giant Blockbuster, going to a brick and mortar store to rent movies is now a thing of the past. Netflix has now even started to produce their own shows and movies, with hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Now Netflix has cast their influential spotlight on an event that shook our beloved state of Wisconsin to the core.

The documentary series Making a Murderer details the life of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin native from Manitowoc County. Avery grew up in a tight-knit blue-collar family, with little money and little education. Throughout his life he had several run-ins with law enforcement for everything from burglary to animal cruelty, but in 1985 he would be charged with a crime more heinous than anything else he’d ever been accused of.

Avery was charged with sexually assaulting a prominent woman in the community. Penny Ann Beernsten was out running along the Lake Michigan shoreline and was apprehended by an unknown man who forced her into a wooded area and sexually assaulted her.

Avery was swiftly arrested and convicted. He spent 18 years in prison until DNA evidence exonerated him of the crime. Once released, he announced that he would be suing the state for wrongful imprisonment. If Avery won he would receive $36 million from the state.

A year after he was released from prison Avery was charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach, a photographer who had disappeared after taking photos for Avery’s car. Avery claimed he was set up by law enforcement to prevent him from winning his pending civil case. Despite speculation and conspiracy theories, Avery was convicted and is now serving a life sentence at Waupun Correctional Institution.

Making a Murderer shines a bright light on a dark spot in our society. Even when law enforcement has the best intentions, mistakes can happen. Steven Avery served 18 years for a crime he did not commit, but thanks to his dedication he was freed for a short time. The lawyers at Huppertz & Powers have a dedication that is unmatched by any criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin.

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