“Making a Murderer” and Civil Lawsuits Providing Redemption for Those Wronged

Posted: January 13, 2016

As of late, the Netflix original documentary series, “Making a Murderer,” is dominating news headlines, office talk, Facebook posts and home conversations. This series focuses on two cases involving the defendant, Steven Avery. In 1985, Steven Avery, 22, whose family operates an auto salvage yard in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, is found guilty of raping the victim, Penny Beerntsen and sent to prison. After serving 18 years in prison, DNA evidence clears him of the charges and he is released.

After being released, Steven Avery decides to pursue a civil rights lawsuit against Manitowoc County and local officials for $36 million. Shortly after filing the civil suit and taking the depositions of several local officials, Avery was charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach, an Auto Trader photographer, who was allegedly last seen on the Avery family property to photograph a vehicle. Avery was convicted and is currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Attorney Erin Calandriello, while in law school at DePaul, had the opportunity in a class to conduct a mock deposition of Penny Beerntsen, the victim from the 1985 case. In this class, Erin became familiar with the initial Steven Avery case and the lawsuit which followed. It was one of the reasons why Erin decided to pursue civil rights litigation in an effort to seek out justice for those who has been wrongfully convicted and/or wrongfully killed.

The Law Office of Martin L. Glink handles civil rights litigation for those whose rights have been violated under the United States Constitution and Illinois Constitution. Most of our firm’s litigation deals with bringing about justice for those individuals suffering abuse by the police, sometimes, resulting in wrongful or false arrests, fractures, physical and emotional injuries and/or wrongful death. http://www.glinkpersonalinjury.com/practice-area/civil-rights-1983-action. Other potential claims that are sometimes brought against police officers include false arrest and/or malicious prosecution.

In Steven Avery’s first case, he claimed that his civil rights, under the United States Constitution, were violated. The victim, Ms. Beerntsen, was shown Avery’s photo during a simultaneous lineup (where witnesses are shown all photos at once) before looking at a live lineup photo, during which she picked him both times because Avery was the only in both lineups. She was never actually shown a photo of her actual perpetrator, Gregory Allen. Furthermore, the documentary shows that the Manitowoc Sheriff’s Department was provided information that Gregory Allen had admitted to committing the sexual assault, which Avery was convicted of, approximately nine years prior to Avery being set free. However, this information only comes out through deposition testimony in the civil rights case. Whether or not Avery committed the murder of Teresa Halbach after being released from his wrongful conviction is one for public debate.

Fortunately, our firm has the ability to provide a sense of redemption for those whose rights have been violated under the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Sadly, those wronged will never get back what they lost. If you or a loved one’s civil rights have been violated, it is important that you contact a qualified civil rights attorney as soon as possible. Contact The Law Office of Martin L. Glink at 847-394-4900 today.