Let’s talk about murder
Practicing attorney Dean Strang will be on campus tonight to speak about his role in the “Making a Murderer” documentary.
February 17, 2017
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Dean Strang, one of the two defense attorneys who were assigned to the case featured in the documentary series “Making a Murderer” will be on campus tonight to talk about his experience with the case and about how most of the problems found within the documentary can be seen in many American courtrooms.
“Making a Murder” focuses on the story of Steven Avery, who served 18 years in prison for the attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, before being exonerated in 2003 based on new DNA evidence. Strang was Avery’s defense attorney at this time.
The talk won’t just be focused upon the cases covered in “Making a Murderer.” It will also focus upon some of the big issues facing the criminal justice system today and how the issues in the documentary can be found in courthouses all across the U.S.
The documentary covers such issues as the confessions of juveniles, how we obtain forensic evidence and how such evidence is now impacting the rulings of previous cases.
Another key issue of the documentary was the idea of prosecution ethics and what duties attorneys have to their clients—especially when those attorneys are assigned by the state.
“I think most people want films like this to be the exception rather than the rule,” said Professor Leondra Hanson, the Former Director of Hamline’s Legal Studies program and main organizer behind the event. “I think Mr. Strang will talk about how the issues we will see in the film are issues that are common across courthouses across the country, and not just unique to those defendants.”
When asked why she wanted to have Strang talk on campus, Hanson replied that she found Strang’s ability to focus upon asking more complex questions was exactly the sort of message that she wanted students to hear.
“People want to focus on ‘Is this person guilty or innocent?’ What I think the filmmakers focused on was the question of whether justice was administered fairly,” Hanson said.
The event will be held in the Anderson Center tonight, Wednesday, Feb. 15, at 7:30 p.m. in room 115. All students interested in the topic are invited to attend.