The White House responded to a petition to pardon Making a Murderer subjects Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey on Thursday.
“Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them,” the White House explained in its response. “A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities.”
The response continued: “While this case is out of the Administration’s purview, President Obama is committed to restoring the sense of fairness at the heart of our justice system. That’s why he has granted 184 commutations total – more than the last five presidents combined – and has issued 66 pardons over his time in office.”
The petition, which was created on the White House website on Dec. 20, exceeded the 100,000 signatures needed for a White House response earlier this week.
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“Those who feel they have been wrongly convicted can seek to have their convictions overturned by a higher court,” Walker’s press secretary Laurel Patrick said in a statement on Tuesday.
The petition claimed that the “justice system embarrassingly failed both men, completely ruining their entire lives.”
“There is clear evidence that the Manitowoc County sheriff’s department used improper methods to convict both Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey.
“This is a black mark on the justice system as a whole, and should be recognized as such, while also giving these men the ability to live as normal a life as possible,” concluded the petition.
Avery is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole, while Dassey is up for parole in 2048.
• With reporting by SANDRA SOBIERAJ WESTFALL