Making A Murderer part 2, episode 3 recap: A Legal Miracle


Making A Murderer explores the impact that Brendan’s incarceration and fleeting moments of hope have taken on his family.

Making A Murderer feels a bit different this season. While the first season brought us into the mystery of the Teresa Halbach case and revealed the inconsistencies with how everything went down. There is a more realistic approach to the second part of this docuseries, and it’s largely due to Avery’s post-conviction lawyer, Kathleen Zellner.

This episode visits some of Teresa’s friends who are upset with how everything has been brought to the surface again. It’s been difficult for them, and even more difficult for the Halbach family who mostly refused to participate in Making A Murderer.

Zellner has started using Twitter as a mean to let the public know what is going on with Avery’s case, and it’s become problematic for the Halbach family and Teresa’s friends. There is a lot of discussion throughout part 2 of Making A Murderer about how the case is essentially becoming famous, and the more famous it becomes, the more Teresa disappears into the background–the real victim of the case.

This episode also dives a bit deeper into the politics and constitutional aspect of habeas corpus involving Brendan’s case which explains some insight into AEDPA (the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act), which was signed by Congress in 1996. What does this act have to do with this case?

It basically made it more difficult to exercise habeas corpus. For those who don’t know what habeas corpus means, here is the official definition from the Cornell School of Law:

"Latin for “that you have the body.” In the US system, federal courts can use the writ of habeas corpus to determine if a state’s detention of a prisoner is valid.  A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee (e.g. institutionalized mental patient) before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment or detention is lawful.  A habeas petition proceeds as a civil action against the State agent (usually a warden) who holds the defendant in custody. It can also be used to examine any extradition processes used, the amount of bail, and the jurisdiction of the court."

The episode explains that the act was put into play following the Oklahoma City bombing to ensure that those given the death penalty are brought to justice quickly. But this act isn’t restricted to terrorist acts, in fact, it applies to everyone, which is why it proved difficult in Brendan’s case.

Read. Making A Murderer part 2, episode 2 recap: Words and Words Only. light

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Zellner spends a lot of time in this episode examining the fire that was supposedly connected to the area where Teresa’s body was said to be burned. A fire expert by the name of Dr. John DeHaan was brought in by Zellner’s team who immediately noted that a lot of fuel would be needed to burn a body.

According to the evidence they had, there was simply not enough fuel to be able to burn a body to a crisp.

During her investigation, Zellner points out that everything was done wrong by the prosecution and so many things were overlooked or not researched in the depth they should have that it really screwed up the case.

It’s all very sad considering the docuseries often checks in with Avery’s mother Dolores who isn’t even sure she’ll be around if Stephen ever gets out.

Zellner’s law clerks and herself look further into the property and surrounding area because she now believes the bones were placed onto the Avery property. And while there is so much investigating going on to exonerate Avery, the question remains that if he is not the culprit, then who actually is?

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Momentarily, the suspicion points to Josh Radandt who owns the quarry next to the Avery property. It doesn’t go past that much, but it’s still something to think about.

In the midst of all this focus on Avery and Dassey, supporters of the Halbach family organized a 5K run to bring more awareness to Teresa Halbach and her family. The publicity surrounding the case has been difficult on the Halbach family, and this was a way for the community to give them support.