Convoluted Brian

the weBlog of Brian McCorkle

The Importance of Understanding

Is Kratz Pulling a Sneddon?

For those that remember the Michael Jackson trial, the name Thomas Sneddon should be familiar. For others, Sneddon is the prosecutor who attempted to grandstand with his prosecution of Jackson.

Well into the trial, Sneddon was still executing search warrants of Wonderland seeking to bolster his sagging case.

The Avery prosecution has its own ups and downs. First, Calumet County Sheriff Jerry Pagel stated that Avery had lied about being in the Halbach vehicle. Then, Special Prosecutor Ken Kratz produced his spectacle of giving a press conference to recount a horrific confession obtained from special education student, Brendan Dassey. Lately though, Kratz has been unusually closed‑mouthed. WLUK‑TV went as far as to claim that his usual style was to decline comment.

Now, on the surface, it appears as the case against Steven Avery is fraying.

Kratz has belatedly discovered a documentary project about the Wisconsin justice system that included interviews with Avery. Kratz wants all the material collected for the documentary, claiming his right to evidence.

The project is research and interviews of the Wisconsin justice system using the false conviction of Avery as a frame. Laura Ricciardi of Synthesis Films, Inc. has accumulated over 250 hours of recorded material.

Ricciardi claims protection as a journalist. She further claims that Kratz is attempting to use her as an (unpaid) investigative tool for the state. Ricciardi stated in an affidavit that she avoided any mention of the current charges against Avery and Dassey since that was not her scope.

But, Kratz claims that Laura Ricciardi was allowed to film the unsealed vial of blood found in the Manitowoc County Courthouse and that she is an investigative arm of the defense.

Kratz goes on to claim that she is not a journalist and has no protection for her work. I’m not sure what constitutes a journalist under Wisconsin law. Is it the function of the person and project? Is the person here an investigative journalist? Or, is the definition restricted to a very narrow class based definition. Will this become a Federal issue? The crux to me is whether the work or project is journalism, rather than restricting and coercing individuals.

I suspect that Judge Willis is reluctant to review 250 hours plus of video. And so far, Kratz has made allegations that appear to be merely guesses. Does he have a photo or witnesses to verify that the defense team took the researcher into the courthouse and allowed her to film the vial? The discovery of the potentially tampered evidence vial is fairly recent. Can he convince anyone that Ricciardi is concerned in the commission of a crime?

Other than that, does Kratz expect to find the smoking gun in the material? What happened to all the evidence collected because of the Dassey confession? If even half of that confession was true, there would be more than enough evidence for convictions.

Time will tell whether Kratz is doing a last minute attempt to get coherent evidence to back up his charges. He hasn’t quite got to the Sneddon stage of executing search warrants while trial is in progress.

by Brian McCorkle
posted on 11 January, 2007 at 22:33 pm
in category Steven Avery

Special Prosecutor Kenneth Kratz now wants to subpoena over 250 hours of research from an investigative journalist.



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