Monday, January 4, 2016

Steven Avery's symbol and John Doe combatant?

Yes, I've been part of the shockingly large amount of people that have been watching Making a Murderer, the documentary on Steven Avery's 2003 freedom from prison and his later murder trial. Yes, I find it as fascinating as most of the people commenting in the Twitterverse (including people such as Ricky Gervais and fellow Tosa East grad Jeremy Scahill!). Of course, being from Wisconsin takes it to a different level with me, and while I'm not wholly familiar with Manitowoc and Calumet County (though I have had a beer or two at the Courthouse Pub), I know enough of the area and the state that it gives a bit of extra interest to me.

What I did not expect to come out of the mini-series is this story from The Guardian today.
The Tuesday before Christmas, about halfway through the 10-episode series, I tweeted “Am I the only one who kinda has a crush on Dean Strang from #MakingaMurderer?” The internet’s reply was swift: no. Not at all. The tweet has been liked more than 70 times, proving that there are a fair few people out there crushing on the short, glasses-wearing, nebbishy Wisconsin lawyer. Strang and his co-counsel Jerry Buting are the moral centers of an otherwise disheartening tale of justice gone terribly wrong, and what’s more attractive than kindness?

Maggie Serota, managing editor of the website Death and Taxes, is one of Strang’s admirers. She admits that she didn’t think Strang was a hunk at first, but grew more and more fond of him as the series went on. “He’s not a guy who turns your head when you’re walking down the street, per se. But in the context of the documentary, he comes off like a real-life Sandy Cohen,” she says, in a reference to the father character (also a soft-hearted defense attorney) played by Peter Gallagher on Fox’s the OC.

Cohen isn’t the only fictional character to whom Strang has drawn comparisons. Some women say he bears a resemblance to Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights or to Law & Order’s Jack McCoy, while he reminds Minneapolis-based advertising professional Diana Saez of Atticus Finch, the noble lawyer from To Kill a Mockingbird. “He’s fighting a huge system, and he seems so tired by it all. It makes you want to hug him,” Saez explains. “And his hair is tremendous.”

I guess that hair is tremendous, now that I think about it....

It is pretty cool to see bookish people in overly detailed positions to be found sexy due to their convictions and compassion, especially given when that person is from Wisconsin. But sorry ladies, Dean Strang is ours, and I'd rather he stay around this state to right the many wrongs that are being done in Fitzwalkerstan. Maybe as someone to take on WMC spokesmodel Annette Ziegler in the 2017 Wisconsin Supreme Court election?

Although if Strang was part of a Supreme Court race, I'd be interested in hearing his response on campaign finance and investigation of public officials, particularly given this one case he took on starting in 2013.
Three unnamed petitioners are asking that a judge be ordered to temporarily halt a secret investigation into campaign activity by Gov. Scott Walker’s recall campaign and more than two dozen conservative political groups.

Madison attorney Dean Strang and Milwaukee attorney Matthew O’Neill late last week filed five petitions for supervisory writ in the 4th District Court of Appeals in Madison requesting the appeals judges to weigh in on an unspecified action or actions taken by retired Judge Gregory A. Peterson and to consider sending the requests up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
In addition, Strang testified last March in favor of the WisGOP Legislature's bill that ended John Doe investigations against Wisconsin public officials, saying the process had been abused by prosecutors too many times. Now this may make you think less of Mr. Strang, since he's working for Scott Walker in a case that's basically about legalizing money-laundering. Or you might be even more impressed, because it means Strang will work his ass off for any client, and that's why Walker (via his campaign donors) chose to give Strang the big bucks in this case because they knew they were screwed without top-notch lawyering and crooked Supreme Court justices. And if Strang were to be drafted into a Supreme Court run next year, he'd be going against one of those crooked WMC justices in Ziegler.

I'm not done with the Making a Murderer mini-series (we're through Episode 7 of 10), but it's well-worth the watch, even if it does make NE Wisconsin seem even more backward and insularly corrupt than you might have ever imagined (both Manitowoc and Calumet Counties gave well over 60% of their votes to Walker in 2014). I do wonder what longer-term effect it may have on laws and criminal cases in the state, since it's a great illustration of how evidence can be twisted (or that a defense can twist, if you take the view that key parts of the evidence against Avery aren't being talked about in the mini-series). I just know I'm flipping on another episode of Making a Murderer right after posting this.

PS- And now apparently this is a Twitter thing...

No comments:

Post a Comment