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Movies & TV

19th Oct 2018

Making A Murderer: Here’s why Kathleen Zellner decided to represent Steven Avery

Paul Moore

Kathleen Zellner

It’s time to meet Steven Avery’s new lawyer.

To begin with, we’re going to assume everyone is up to speed with the intricate timeline regarding the events that unfolded in Making A Murderer: Part One because if you’re not, the name of Kathleen Zellner is not going to register on your radar.

The beloved documentary series has returned to Netflix and after discussing the editing process and ethical dilemmas with the show’s co-directors, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, the discussion turned towards Steven Avery’s new legal representative, Kathleen Zellner.

As the documentary details, Zellner is an extremely driven attorney who has worked extensively in wrongful conviction advocacy.

In Avery’s own words, “she’s the best lawyer that I’ve ever seen” and having secured the exoneration of 19 wrongfully convicted men – handling many of these cases pro bono – she now has her most high-profile client.

Can she free Steven Avery following his conviction and imprisonment for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach?

As Zellner states in the documentary, “the deeper we dig into the Avery conviction, the more evidence we uncover of his innocence. It does not matter how long it takes, what it costs or what obstacles we have to overcome – our efforts to win Mr. Avery’s freedom will never stop.”

There’s no doubting her passion and commitment, but what attracted her to Avery’s case? Given the extensive and severe allegations of institutional corruption and injustice that this documentary depicts, it appears that the decks are stacked against her.

This being said, as she says in the very first episode: “If you hire me and you’re guilty, trust me – I’ll do a way better job than the prosecutors. I will find if you are guilty and we’re going to do testing, we can’t control the results. The results will be turned over to both sides, so really think about this. You would have to be an idiot to be hiring me to find out that you’re guilty.”

On this note, a devotion to justice and a hatred of bullies is what drives Kathleen Zellner – according to Demos.

“What we can share is what she (Kathleen Zellner) told us herself. One thing she said is that that there was one moment she remembered while watching Part One, and it hit her pretty hard. It was the moment when the verdicts were read and watching Steven’s face,” Demos told JOE.

“That had a very powerful effect on her. She also told us that what it came down to, for her, was a real intolerance of bullies. She recognised in the story she saw was a form of bullying. Then of course, it’s also about looking at the case files, meeting with the client etc.”

She adds: “She could really have her pick of cases. She gets many requests to represent people and for her, it’s only about wanting to represent people that she truly believes are innocent. She knows that she has a lot of skills and wants those to be used to right wrongs.”

Viewers will get to see if Kathleen Zellner is successful in her pursuit of justice because Making A Murderer: Part Two is now available on Netflix.

Clip via Netflix

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