Zellner: Appeals court dismissal allows judge to hear all Avery claims

WISCONSIN (WBAY) - The attorney for Steven Avery says a Wisconsin Appeals Court has agreed to her request to dismiss Avery's case before the court so the trial court has full jurisdiction to hear all claims presented in Avery's quest for a new trial.

Kathleen Zellner tweeted the news Thursday afternoon. Online court records show a three-judge panel agreed to dismiss the case that was still before the Court of Appeals District 2.

Zellner says the move allows Sheboygan County Judge Angela Sutkiewicz to hear all claims made within her 204-page argument that Avery was framed for the 2005 murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County.

On July 13, Zellner filed a motion for the District 2 appeals court to dismiss Avery's pro se appeal (Avery filed the appeal in 2015, prior to Zellner taking over as his attorney) so Judge Sutkiewicz would be able to hear claims beyond those dealing with scientific testing.

Special prosecutor Thomas Fallon had sent a letter to the judge arguing the court "lacked jurisdiction" to act on most of the claims made in Avery's motion for postconviction relief.

Fallon argued that Avery's initial motion said new scientific testing would prove Avery's innocence, but the 204-page document filed by Zellner goes beyond the scientific, making multiple claims of ineffective council, Brady violations, and ethical violations.

Zellner sent a letter to the judge saying that she had informed Fallon that she was going to file the motion before he sent his letter to the judge.

Click here to read Zellner's letter to the judge.

Avery and his nephew Brendan Dassey are serving life sentences for the Halloween 2005 murder Halbach, a freelance photographer who was to photograph a vehicle at the Avery Salvage Yard. The case gained international attention from the Netflix docu-series "Making A Murderer."

Avery's motion claims that investigators framed him for Halbach's murder and planted evidence to convict him. Attorney Kathleen Zellner filed a document laying out an argument that multiple factors show Avery did not commit the murder.

Zellner says results of the examination of a bullet fragment showing it did not have embedded bone fragments "undermines the State's theory that Ms. Halbach was killed by two gunshot to the head."

Zellner says Avery's motion for postconviction relief relies on the new evidence, as well as the claims of Brady violations and ethical violations.

Brendan Dassey's conviction has been overturned, but that decision remains held up in the courts. On Wednesday, Dassey's attorneys filed a letter asking the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the state's request for the full court to rehear the case.

Click here for more information on Dassey's case.

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