I recently watched the documentary, Making A Murderer, and if you haven’t yet, you should. No, it’s not an indictment of all law enforcement. It’s an object lesson in why we should be deeply skeptical of power and the people who lord it over our lives. And how easy it can be for them to get you, too, especially once they’ve called you a murderer.
So go ahead and watch it if you haven’t already, and watch it again if you have. Then form your own opinion. Mine is that something stinks to high heaven, and there’s probable cause to believe that the real criminals are getting away with it. Here’s a little bit of the why.
It was 2005, and Steven Avery had filed a lawsuit.
His lawsuit had named the former county sheriff and district attorney as defendants, and those men had reason to be worried.
Some of their lead deputies had royally stepped in it by the way they had handled Avery’s 1985 rape case, which is why Avery had sued them in the first place.
The deputies had purposely withheld material evidence in the rape case when they knew or should’ve known that another suspect, Gregory Allen, was the real rapist. They suppressed that evidence even after new DNA testing pointed to an unknown third party. They hid that evidence even as they watched Avery desperately plead his case on appeal.
Then, in 2003, Avery was exonerated when advancements in DNA testing were able to conclusively identify Allen as the rapist. So Avery was cleared, and he filed a $36 million lawsuit for the eighteen years he spent in prison at the hands of their misconduct. That was $1 million for each year in prison plus $18 million in deterrent, punitive damages.
His lawsuit was getting traction in the second half of 2005, and the defendants had reason to be worried. Some of their deputies had already been deposed on September 22, October 11, October 13, and October 26, and those depositions had not gone well. The evidence was embarrassing to all involved, and it was leading upstream.
The sheriff’s and district attorney’s own depositions were scheduled for November 10 and November 15, respectively, and the county’s insurance company had taken the position that it would deny any coverage because the case involved intentional misconduct.
That meant the defendants faced the prospect of a massive personal judgment if they were found liable, along with other civil and criminal consequences.
Then, on November 3, a woman went missing.
And the rest you can judge for yourself.
May the chickens come home to roost.
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