The Wisconsin Department of Justice says the latest post-conviction motion filed by Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery’s lawyer must be heard by the state’s appellate court because the circuit court has no jurisdiction.
In a letter sent to Judge Angela Sutkiewicz, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Fallon claims Avery’s 1,200-motion for a new trial includes only three areas of forensic testing fall within the jurisdiction of her court. That means the state claims the rest of the allegations in defense attorney Kathleen Zellner’s petition belongs in the appellate court.
The three areas Fallon says could be heard in the lower court are Steven Avery’s DNA swab from Teresa Halbach’s hood latch, his DNA found on the Toyota RAV4 key and the examination of the bullet and Zellner’s claim that it did not pass through bone.
Fallon also argued that Avery’ case must be heard at the appellate level because that’s where it is pending.
In response, Zellner sent a letter explaining to the lower court that she filed a motion to dismiss Avery’s case in the Wisconsin Court of Appeals Wednesday. The new case was docketed in circuit court Thursday morning, June 13.
Thursday’s filing is the first movement in the Avery case since Zellner filed the latest motion for post-conviction relief. The noted post-conviction lawyer claims all the physical evidence in the Halbach murder investigation was planted, either by the real killer or law enforcement. She claims the state also committed a series of violations stipulated in the Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland.
At the core of those allegations is Zellner’s claim that police failed to properly identify a third-party suspect, Halbach’s on-again, off-again boyfriend, Ryan Hillegas. She claims Hillegas learned of details of the case from police and media before planting Avery’s blood in Halbach’s vehicle and the vehicle the Avery property.
Meanwhile, Zellner locked her Twitter account Thursday, leading some to speculate if the noted lawyer is preparing for the issuance of a gag order, which would bar the state, defense and potential witnesses from speaking publicly about the case.
Brendan Dassey’s attorneys are awaiting word on whether the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will grant Wisconsin an en banc hearing in his appeal. The court recently upheld a 2016 ruling that his 2006 confession was involuntary. The court argues that if the 2016 ruling stands, it will hinder law enforcement’s ability to obtain confessions. The state currently has the option of retrying Dassey without the confession, fight for the initial conviction or set him free.
Dassey was only 16 when was interrogated for more than three hours without his parents present. Then defense attorney Len Kachinsky was appointed to defend Dassey after his arrest and allowed him to withstand further interrogation without representation.
[Featured Image by Morry Gash/AP Images]