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Steven Avery's Appeal Has Just Been Filed – Here's What It Means

Steven Avery's Appeal Has Just Been Filed – Here's What It Means

Kathleen Zellner is now appealing to the Wisconsin appellate court for a motion to grant Avery a new trail.

Ciara Sheppard

Ciara Sheppard

Making a Murderer subject Steven Avery's lawyer has filed an appeal to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals which could lead to the convicted killer getting a new trial.

Kathleen Zellner previously revealed was due to file her appellate brief - a document submitted to an appeals court by a lawyer - by Monday 14th October.

On Tuesday, the lawyer tweeted: "We are thrilled to have Steven's brief filed and we look forward to the first unbiased, fair and competent review of these issues. #Makingamurderer2."


According to WBAY, Zellner filed a 32,241-word brief asking the Wisconsin Appeals court to grant Avery a new trial.

In among the 135-page document, she claims the circuit court "abused its discretion" in dismissing Avery's requests for additional scientific testing; denied him motion in relation to the Brady violations (which occurred when the prosecution failed to turn over all "exculpatory evidence" to the defendant); and that they failed to address Avery's claim that he had ineffective counsel at trial.

Avery is the subject of the hit 2015 true crime documentary, which followed the case surrounding the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach, for which the 57-year-old and his 29-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey are currently serving life in prison.

In the 14 years since, Avery has always maintained his innocence and his belief that he was framed by the Manitowoc County Police Department.

This year has been a tumultuous one in his case, as Zellner, who featured in the second series of the acclaimed documentary series, has continued fighting for her client's justice.

In February, Avery won a motion to appeal in a Wisconsin circuit court, which meant that the court would then reexamine the case. Zellner's appeal made mention of the bones that were found in the gravel pit on the Avery property, believed to be Teresa's.

However, the 61-year-old lawyer is arguing the bones were mishandled by authorities when they were given to Teresa's family in 2011 without notifying the defence.


Unfortunately, in August the defence's bid for a new trail was rejected in the circuit court, meaning Zellner and her team will now have to continue to pursue their appeal in Wisconsin's appellate court.

Now Zellner's new brief has been filed to the appellate court, it will be deliberated by a judge who will decide if Avery should be offered a new trial. If this fails, the defence could even escalate Avery's case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

If Zellner's appeal wins Avery a second trial and it is successful, it will be the second time he has been exonerated from prison.

Avery had previously been wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder in 1985 but was exonerated after serving 18 years of a 20-year sentence when DNA evidence found him to be innocent.

After his release in 2003, Avery filed a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County, and received a small fraction as a settlement.


Two years later, Avery was convicted of Teresa's murder and sentenced to life without parole.

Avery's 2007 murder trial was the subject of the 2015 documentary series which garnered the case international attention, and brought new evidence to light.

Viewers learnt about witness coercion and tampering of evidence on behalf of Manitowoc County Police Department, who Avery maintains framed him for the murder as payback for the disgraced police force's 2003 suing.

The doc also covered the arrest of Steven's then-16-year-old nephew Brendan Dassey, who is still serving time in prison, but maintains his confession was coerced.


Kathleen, who runs her own law firm specialising in freeing the innocent, was introduced in the documentary's second season, which landed on Netflix in 2018.

Viewers watched as Zellner ruthlessly tore down the Manitowoc County Police Department's failures in protocol, bulldozed the defence's timeline of events and fought tirelessly to appeal Avery's conviction.

This update regarding Zellner's new appeal follows recent upheaval in the case, after Avery's defence announced they were offering a $100,000 reward for information which would lead to the arrest and conviction Teresa Halbach's real killer.

Soon after, convicted killer and Wisconsin prison inmate Joseph Evans Jr confessed to the murder via a handwritten note which Zellner has since called an incredible confession.

Featured Image Credit: Manitowoc County Police Department

Topics: Life News, TV and Film, Steven Avery, Making A Murderer