Even as hundreds of thousands of people are signing petitions asking President Barack Obama to pardon “Making a Murderer” convict Steven Avery, the leader of the free world’s hands are tied.
Constitutional laws regarding presidential pardons will keep Obama from utilising the move for Avery. According to the United States Department of Justice, presidential pardons can only be used on federal convictions.
“Under the Constitution, only federal criminal convictions, such as those adjudicated in the United States District Courts, may be pardoned by the President … the President cannot pardon a state criminal offence,” the department’s site reads.
Appeals for state convictions are to be filed in local courts and petitioned to the state’s governor.
“If you are seeking clemency for a state criminal conviction… you should contact the Governor or other appropriate authorities of the state where you reside or where the conviction occurred (such as the state board of pardons and paroles) to determine whether any relief is available to you under state law.”
In Avery’s case, petitions to pardon should really be addressed to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, if they’re going to achieve their intended purpose.
Watch a video about the presidential pardon rules and the Avery petitions below:
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