Sunday 23 October 2016

Dean Strang hits back at Making a Murderer critics who say series pushes defence's agenda

Published 29/01/2016 | 11:06

Dean Strang on hit Netflix show Making a Murderer
Dean Strang on hit Netflix show Making a Murderer

Dean Strang has railed against critics who claim Netflix series Making a Murderer is attempting to prove Steven Avery's innocence.

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Avery was convicted of the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach in Wisconsin and is currently serving a life sentence.

Some viewers claim that the documentary, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos , has omitted key prosecution evidence and pushes the defence's case.

Strang, Avery's defence attorney told The Progressive that the inclusion and omission of certain evidence is simply down to the requirements of editing.

“The editorial decisions these filmmakers made in taking 200-plus hours of evidence in the Avery case and distilling it to three plus hours on the trial in the film were easily defensible decisions, it seems to me," he said.

"Not the only decisions you could have made, but easily defensible decisions.”

Strang went on to criticise the media for taking what prosecutor Ken Kratz said in his 2006 statement about the case as gospel before the trial had started.

"We live in a country in which every time the police department or a prosecutor wants to issue a press release or hold a press conference, the overwhelming majority of media outlets treat what the police or prosecutors say as received wisdom,” he said.

"There’s almost never a critical examination of what the police or prosecution has to say. Now when one film doesn’t hue to the prosecution line that's where the criticism falls: 'You’re imbalanced, or you’re offering an unbalanced view, or you’re displaying hubris.’”

Strang used as an example an article written by Kathryn Schultz in The New Yorker.

“It reveals, I think, one of the real weaknesses of our media, to be blunt about it. Right down to the level of Schulz simply parroting this claim of Mr. Kratz that sweat DNA was found on the hood latch of Teresa Halbach’s car as if that’s true, and it isn't. There is no such thing as sweat DNA," he said.

“There is DNA that may be transferred in sweat or other bodily fluid potentially, if there’s loose epithelial cells sloughing off in your perspiration, but there was no evidence at trial of sweat. There wasn’t even any testing to establish that there wasn’t blood.”

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