Her name was Teresa Halbach: What Netflix Missed with “Making a Murderer”
Diana Alvear

I understand the sentiment of this article, but I believe the criticism of Making a Murderer is misplaced. I would refer the author to the recent verdict of Judge Martin P. Welch in another high profile case, that of Adnan Syed. In reference to Brady v. Maryland, Judge Welch wrote:

‘In Brady, the Supreme Court of the United States… recognized that “[s]ociety wins not only when the guilty are convicted but when criminal trials are fair; our system of the administration of justice suffers when any accused is treated unfairly.” A Brady violation relates to the right of a fair trial. The right of a fair trial is rooted in the Sixth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, both of which form the foundation of our criminal justice system.’

What happened to Teresa Halbach was a tragedy, but it was not the subject of Making a Murderer. The subject of Making a Murderer was the US criminal justice system, as seen from the perspective of Steven Avery. From the documentary’s point of view, it does not matter whether he is innocent or guilty (though this is the question that sustains the narrative), what matters is whether or not the criminal justice system worked appropriately. This is extremely important for anyone who values their Constitutional rights and wishes to see them upheld.

Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to draw people’s attention back to the human loss in this particular case, if one feels it is being lost in the discussion of broader legal and Constitutional issues. However, it is unfair to critise the documentary for choosing to focus on those issues, when they are of the utmost importance to every American and every person around the world who may look up to the American legal system as a model for societal justice.

P.s. I am concerned that a journalist would dismiss the issue of potentially false convictions because those convicted only have life sentence compared to the victim, who was murdered. I realise that this was likely a throwaway line added for rhetorical purposes and was not fully thought through, but it is important to address this: the murder of an innocent person is a tragedy; the wrongful imprisonment of an innocent person is a tragedy. The two are not mutually exclusive, and expressing concern for one does not diminish the tragedy of the other. Rather, it does a disservice to the victim, because one is neglecting to find the person who is actually guilty out of a misplaced sense of respect.

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