Following the release of the 10-episode Netflix documentary Making a Murderer, a petition sprouted up on Change.org calling for the official pardon of the series’ subject, Steven Avery. Serving a life sentence since 2007 for murdering a woman in 2005, Avery has had his guiltiness put into question by the doc.
After the petition received over 300,000 signatures, the White House responded, with a note pointing out that Avery’s crime is not a federal one. Therefore, President Obama does not have the authority to issue a pardon:
“Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them. A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities.
While this case is out of the Administration's purview, President Obama is committed to restoring the sense of fairness at the heart of our justice system. That's why he has granted 184 commutations total -- more than the last five presidents combined -- and has issued 66 pardons over his time in office.”
Click here to read the full response, and watch the first full episode of Making a Murderer on YouTube below: