Steven Avery files motion to be released

Steven Avery filed several motions Monday before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals seeking to be released on bond and making a variety of due process allegations.

Avery claims that since his property was searched illegally, the evidence collected against him should not be part of his case.

Avery also claims a juror influenced and intimidated other jurors into voting guilty.

Click here to view court documents obtained by Action 2 News. 

He’s serving life in prison for murdering Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County — two years after he was released from prison after serving 18 years for a rape he didn’t commit.

Netflix recently released a controversial series (‘Making a Murderer’) about Avery and has said more than a million subscribers have watched the series. Law enforcement as well as prosecutors have pointed out that the Netflix series has failed to show both sides to the Avery trial and excludes key evidence that the prosecution presented.

”I think we need to look at the full picture rather than just 10 hours of a thriller,” says Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels.

Manitowoc County Executive Bob Ziegelbauer says he is concerned how all of this attention from from Hollywood and the media will impact the victim’s family.

“We have to have a little respect for the Halbach family, too, and that’s my first concern,” says Ziegelbauer.

Robert Hermann the current Sheriff of Manitowoc County tells Action 2 News that lies, rumors and misconceptions about the case have left his department with a huge mess to clean up.

Hermann says after watching the Netflix series he believes his department had been framed by the filmmakers. Click here for the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s message for ‘Making a Murderer’ filmmakers.

Meanwhile in Avery’s January 11, 2016 motions, he further claims that Thomas Aquino, a Wisconsin attorney, made untruthful statements and never thoroughly investigated his allegations.

That complaint is before the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Office of Lawyer Regulations, according to court documents.

Action 2 News spoke to The Office of Lawyer Regulation’s director Keith Sellen on Tuesday. Sellen said that pursuant to Wis. Supreme Court Rule 22.40, he could not confirm, nor deny whether or not Aquino was under investigation.

Action 2 News reached out to Aquino on Monday, who now works in the Appellate Division of the State Public Defender’s office. He could not be reached for comment.

 

Avery has also recently secured new legal representation.

Kathleen T. Zellner and Associates in Downers Grove (a Chicago Suburb) says it’s taking “full and complete representation of Steven Avery in all of his pending criminal matters.”

A representative from attorney Kathleen Zellner’s office in Downers Grove, Illinois says Zellner met with Avery on Monday. However, Zellner’s office did not file the Jan. 11 motions, which appear to have been made without the assistance of counsel.

However, moving forward, Zellner says, “We are continuing to examine every aspect of Mr. Avery’s case and all of his legal options. We are confident Mr. Avery’s conviction will be vacated when we present the new evidence and results of our work to the appropriate court.”

Zellner tweeted about her visit with Avery yesterday.

zellnerTricia Bushnell with the Midwest Innocence Project will be assisting with Avery’s defense and issued this statement on Monday.

“The Midwest Innocence Project (MIP), a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the investigation, litigation and exoneration of wrongfully convicted men and women, is pleased to confirm that MIP Legal Director Tricia Bushnell will be assisting as local Wisconsin counsel for Steven Avery, whose case is currently the basis for a popular Netflix documentary series titled Making A Murderer.”

“The law firm of Kathleen T. Zellner and Associates, P.C. in Chicago will be assuming the full and complete representation of Avery in all of his pending criminal matters. Bushnell will not be conducting any interviews about the Avery case at this time, as she and Zellner are continuing to examine every aspect of Avery’s case and all of his legal options.”

The court is expected to hear Avery’s motions Feb. 11, 2016.

In August of 2015, Avery filed an appeal claiming many of the same things — that he was not fully represented, and alleged illegal evidence was used in the case against him.

That appeal was denied this past November.

Avery then sent Action 2 News copies of another motion back in November. Click here to view that motion. 

Action 2 News reached out to the original special prosecutor Ken Kratz, who also served as Calumet County District Attorney at the time. During an exclusive phone interview with Action 2 News, Kratz said that most of what’s contained in the Jan. 11 appeal has already been rejected by the appellate courts. According to Kratz, the only new issue raised pertains to the jury.

“The issue regarding the jury is new information, but it doesn’t rise to the level of  jury tampering or setting aside a verdict,” Kratz said.

Additionally, Kratz said “I’m disappointed that Mr. Avery’s appellate lawyers are allowing him to continue to file pleadings with the court on his own. That’s what lawyers are hired to do.”

Kratz said future questions about this should be directed to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ).

Action 2 News also reached out to the Wisconsin DOJ. Wis. DOJ confirmed that “we are representing the State of Wisconsin in this case,” but said there is no new information to report at this time.

While visiting Menomonie, Wis., Governor Walker recently announced he would not pardon Avery.

“Just because a documentary on TV says something doesn’t mean that’s actually what the evidence shows,” Walker said. “The bottom line is that there was a crime that was committed a decade ago, there is a system in the judicial system by which individuals can petition the courts to get relief like others have done in the past that shows that someone might actually be innocent. But I am not going to override a system that is already put in place.”

Action 2 News was here from the very beginning. Click here for a look back at some of our previous Avery coverage.

Emily Matesic, Clare Kaley, Sarah Thomsen, Jorge Rodas, Andrea Hay, Rhonda Roberts, and Ted Miller contributed to this report.