The line between art and life is starting to get lost in the Netflix streams. A Change.org petition calling for the release of convicted murderer Steven Avery, and subject of Netflix true-crime documentary hit Making a Murderer, has garnered more than 250,000 supporters.
The site indicates that Michael Seyedian began the petition two weeks ago. The Twitter account @cobainsashes, with Seyedian’s name as the profile name, began tweeting out links to the petition as far back as December 20, two days after the series debuted. This may be the most productive thing to come from a weekend of Netflix and chill.
In 1985, Avery was convicted for sexually assaulting Penny Beerntsen, but was later released in 2003 after DNA evidence exonerated him of any wrongdoing. Four years later, Avery was convicted of the 2005 murder of 25-year-old Teresa Halbach. In addition to Avery’s exoneration, Seyedian’s demands that “the Manitowoc County officials complicit in his two false imprisonments should be held accountable to the highest extent of the U.S. criminal and civil justice systems.”
Seyedian’s petition may be earnest, but the constitution on which it’s predicated may be what renders it futile. The president of the United States can only pardon federal convictions. The petition does also include Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who can offer clemency to Avery. One big problem, though: Walker would probably not even see the pardon application even if Seyedian sent it. The Office of the Secretary of State had 986 pardons on file between August 1977 and April 2014, the last time it was updated. According to the Wisconsin State Law Library, the governor’s office has suspended the pardon process for state convictions with no new applications being accepted, as of press time.
Nothing in the petition explains why its 300,000 supporter goal was chosen, but that goal is well within reach. What change that makes is anyone’s guess.