The Opposite of Poverty is Justice

Netflix’s Making a Murderer exposes flaws that go far beyond Steven Avery’s trial

Steven Avery’s 2005 mug shot at the Calumet County Jail. Calumet County Jail

Netflix’s Making a Murderer has, for many, led to just one question: Is Steven Avery innocent? This has been the focus of the discussion surrounding the documentary series, which follows a Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, man who was wrongly convicted of an attempted murder and rape he didn’t commit, exonerated after 18 years, and then tried for another crime — a murder — and sentenced to life in prison.

But the focus on Avery’s guilt or innocence misses what the docu-series really achieves: It exposes the American criminal justice system’s biggest weakness. For all the surprise and talk about Avery’s case as an individual, extreme case, the series shows what are systemic problems in the US justice system — particularly, the system’s total lack of accountability.

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