‘Making A Murderer’ Steven Avery Lawyer Kathleen Zellner Using Case For Self-promotion?
Kathleen Zellner, criminal defense lawyer of Making a Murderer’s Steven Avery, has been actively posting tweets on the internet since late January.Advertisement
With her list of Twitter followers now having grown to 163,000 five months later, there are a few people who have questioned her strategy of using social media, while there are others who feel it is highly unusual.
Avery was arrested for the 2005 murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach. His nephew, Brendan Dassey, was also convicted for assisting his uncle in the crime. Avery’s arrest came after he had spent 18 years in prison on a sexual assault charge before DNA evidence proved he had been wrongfully convicted.
Matthew J. Haiduk, a veteran criminal defense attorney, gave his opinion regarding Zellner’s use of social media in the case in question, something that he says is unusual. “I have never seen anybody in Illinois use social media during a pending case like she’s doing with Steven Avery’s case,” Haiduk said, as reported by Appleton Post Crescent.
“She’s kind of in a weird gray area because it’s not like there was a pending case involving Steven Avery for a while.”
Zellner’s request for an extension of 90 days to file her legal briefs has been granted by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals. She now has until August 29 to do the same, Morning News USA previously reported.
However, Haiduk also highlighted his concern regarding using Twitter to alert those following the case about the legal battle. He said this might not be an ideal approach to prove Avery’s innocence. Referring to tweets, Haiduk said almost half of them are nothing more than “self promotion” and that “other than inciting the mob, they don’t (accomplish) anything.”
“I could never support what she’s doing. And I don’t think this is the future of our profession,” he said. “As a professional colleague, I wish she wasn’t doing this. Really, cases are decided in the courtrooms and not on Twitter.”
Avery was involved in a $36 million lawsuit against Manitowoc County when he was accused of murdering Halbach.
Pete Baetz, a retired Illinois police investigator who served as a defense investigator for Avery’s trial lawyers in 2006 and 2007, said one of Zellner’s tweets from March regarding cellular phone tower records providing Avery with an airtight alibi “really confuses me.”
“You have to know who’s on the other end of the cellphone before you make an impression that somebody else grabbed her, and it’s not to say that (the killer) used her phone to dial it up,” Batez said. “Cell phone towers identify the location of a cell phone, not the person using it.”
He further added that he has not seen a defense lawyer use a tactic that involves social media in a case. “I was really surprised by it,” Baetz said.
“But you can’t argue with her success,” he said.