Friday, March 03, 2006

Earl Avery: "We're going to have to watch him pretty good, I think,"

Thinking about the Avery case ...

1. How excruciatingly painful is it for Teresa Halbach's family and friends to be told and have to read about what happened to her? I can't imagine.

2. What happens to people? What synapses have to misfire to cause one human being to be able to do something like that to another? What about Avery's nephew? He gets off a school bus and rides his bike to deliver his uncle's mails. Then he is invited to assault a woman shackled to a bed and pleading for her life. How do you go from normal to monstrous that quickly. How could he even make himself do it?

3. Don't you wonder about the DNA test? If, in fact, Avery did this, it doesn't mean that he had to have committed the first crime and the DNA testing in that case apparently revealed the presence of a hair from another man currently incarcerated for a different sexual assault. But the fact that he committed, essentially, the same crime that he was exonerated of makes you wonder if they got it right.

4. Freed by DNA and hung by DNA. Much of the public talk about the importance of making DNA testing available is focused on exonerating the innocent. But DNA is not the defendant's friend. Its use will convict far more guilty defendants that would have skated than it will free those who are not guilty. DNA testing makes it virtually impossible to commit a crime in which you leave any genetic material on the victim or at the scene and not get pinned to the law once law enforcement is focused on you. The only recourse is to claim that the cops planted evidence. Worked for OJ, but I don't think it will for Avery.

5. I suspect that we may hear that this was all caused by the wrongful conviction. "Take a man and send him to prison for a crime he did not commit and we turn him into a monster." "A person's moral character is nothing more than the sum of his or her experiences." Just shut up.

6. The fawning press coverage of Avery upon his release was understandable, but now seems a bit creepy. His brother Earl acknowledged that Steven Avery was in for some rough adjustments. "We're going to have to watch him pretty good, I think," Earl said.

I guess they couldn't watch him close enough.

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