Kathleen Zellner Not Shaken By Denial In Steven Avery Case

Kathleen Zellner with two past clients.

Although the lawyer for Making a Murderer‘s Steven Avery will file a motion to vacate a trial court judge’s decision to deny him a new trial, she says the case will likely be decided elsewhere.

Saying Tuesday’s decision was “not a big deal,” Kathleen Zellner turned to Twitter with another message Wednesday, one that indicates she’s gearing up for a battle in another court.

“The lowest court will never make the final decision re SA’s case,” the Chicago post-conviction lawyer tweeted. “There is a reason we have ‘higher’ courts.”

That higher court, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, is likely where Avery’s case will be petitioned, even after Sheboygan County Circuit Judge Angela Sutkiewicz receives the amended motion Zellner says she is preparing per an agreement she has with the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

Zellner says Sutkiewicz denied the June motion in its entirety without knowledge of the agreement or the amended brief.

Zellner made several allegations of misconduct in June, but violations under Brady v. Maryland would likely be the centerpieces of a case at the appellate level. Among them is a CD containing a voicemail from Teresa Halbach Zellner says exculpates Steven. A flyover video edited to conceal that Halbach’s vehicle was not in the salvage yard on November 4, 2005, is another violation under Brady, Zellner says.

New Witnesses

While she did not release details, Zellner told the Inquisitr last month that her amended brief would include new-witness testimony that has led to “significant discoveries” since June. She now says that one of those witnesses saw Teresa Halbach’s Toyota RAV4 parked off of Wisconsin Highway 147 before it was discovered on the Avery property. The witness thought nothing of it until he noticed a missing person’s flier at a nearby gas station. When he returned to the area, the Toyota was not there.

“He reported it to [Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Sgt.] Andrew Colborn in person,” Zellner told the Joliet Patch.

The information was also withheld from Brendan Dassey’s attorneys, Zellner said. She plans to file the amended brief before Thanksgiving.

Colborn has long been accused of knowing more about Halbach’s vehicle than he testified to. He claims he had no contact with the Toyota until it was found by a private searcher on November 5, 2005. Zellner claims he was led to it by the killer a day before, evidenced by a phone call between Colborn and a dispatcher about Teresa’s license plate numbers. Colborn did not have a warrant to seize the RAV4 on that day, so he helped orchestrate the November 5 discovery, Zellner says.

What happened next was a police cover-up rife with other planted evidence directly linked to Colborn, the attorney alleges. He was reportedly searching a bookcase in Avery’s bedroom when Manitowoc County Lt. James Lenk found the Toyota key on the floor. And it was Colborn who first questioned Steven Avery when Teresa Halbach was reported missing.

Ryan Ferguson

Steven Avery’s would not be the first high-profile case Kathleen Zellner has brought to state appellate court. In the case of Ryan Ferguson, her law partner, Doug Johnson, successfully argued in the Missouri Court of Appeals that Ferguson’s murder conviction was invalid because of Brady violations. Ferguson was released from prison in 2013 after serving more than nine years.

[Featured Image by Stephen J. Carrera/AP Images]