Less than two months since they last faced each other in court, a Wisconsin judge has upheld her decision to deny Steven Avery a new trial for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach. Circuit Court Judge Angela Sutkiewicz had previously ruled on October 3 that "The defendant has failed to establish any grounds that would trigger the right to a new trial in the interests of justice." Avery was the subject of the 2015 Netflix series "Making A Murderer," which chronicled his troubled history with law enforcement, which includes a 1985 wrongful conviction on sexual assault charges for which he served 18 years in prison before being exonerated due to DNA evidence.
Following the October 3 ruling, Avery’s lawyer Kathleen Zellner had asked Judge Sutkiewicz to reconsider. However, in a decision filed Tuesday, Sutkiewicz upholds that “The court does not find that the defendant’s interpretations of the facts of this case or his interpretation of legal precedent are correct and finds no basis to reverse its previous decision.”
Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey were convicted in separate trials in 2007 for the murder of the 25-year-old photographer who was last seen at a salvage yard belonging to the Avery family. Dassey’s conviction was overturned in 2016 after a federal magistrate judge determined that his confession had been coerced. It is the contention of Avery's lawyer and the "Making A Murderer" series that Avery's conviction was also the result of an overzelous prosecution.
Following Judge Sutkiewicz decision, Zellner issued a terse tweet, saying, “Avery trial court issues new opinion 11 days after it no longer has jurisdiction of case which is now with the appellate court.” In another statement, sent to USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin, she said, "We fully expect the case to be reversed by the higher court in Wisconsin. However, regardless of what happens in Wisconsin we will pursue the case in federal court all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court because Mr. Avery did not receive a fair trial because of numerous constitutional violations.”