Updated: 'Making a Murderer' defamation case against Netflix dismissed, summary judgement granted.

Byline: Steve Schuster, sschuster@dailyreporter.com

By Steve Schuster


On Friday, March 10, 2023, a defamation suit against Netflix and the "Making a Murderer" creators Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi was dismissed when a U.S. District Court judge in Milwaukee granted two motions for summary judgement.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin Judge Brett Ludwig granted the Defendants' summary judgment motions and denied retired Manitowoc County Sheriff's Andy Colborn's partial motion for summary judgement, according to court documents obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal.

The Netflix series "Making a Murderer" tells the story of Steven Avery, who is currently serving life in prison after being found guilty for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Halbach was murdered on Oct. 31, 2005. For the past 18 years, Avery has had a number of new criminal defense attorneys who have all been unsuccessful at his release. However, Avery's attorney Kathleen Zellner remains optimistic that new evidence will prove her client's innocence.

The Netflix series "Making a Murderer," which originally aired in 2015, received criticism from the media, government officials and the general public for allegedly only telling one side of Avery's story, revictimizing Halbach and her family, as well as incriminating law enforcement professionals. One of those law enforcement professionals was former Manitowoc County Sheriff's Deputy Colburn, who sued Netflix for defamation.

The court ruled Friday that "Colborn has failed to prove the existence of any such improbabilities or inconsistencies. He has not even managed to show that the producers bore him ill-will, and that, in and of itself, is insufficient notice."

Avery's current attorney, Kathleen Zellner, tweeted twice about the ruling on Friday.

Avery's former attorney, Jerome Buting, also tweeted about the ruling.

Ken Kratz, the former district attorney who was assigned to the Avery case, said he disagrees with Friday's ruling.

"Shifting the burden to the defamed person to prove he didn't plant evidence is, of course, an impossible standard. Courts continue to protect big media against any accountability for outrageous claims made in the name of entertainment. It's time to overturn the NY Times vs Sullivan's actual malice hurdle and recognize that real people, and their reputations, are being crushed in the process," Kratz said during an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on...

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