Elkhart 4 Advocate Dr. Steve Drizin Interviewed in Netflix Documentary ‘Making a Murderer’
In the fall of 2013 the story of the Elkhart 4 was unknown to most of the country. The efforts of this blog to advocate for Blake, Jose, Levi and Anthony was just beginning and the families of the ‘four’ were coming to terms with their convictions and the resulting punishment of decades in prison. It was a dark time for supporters of the Elkhart 4.
This changed dramatically on October 4, 2013 when an article appeared in the Huffington Post about the case. “The Elkhart Four and the Unjust Application of the Felony Murder Rule on Teens” was written by Steve Drizin and highlighted many of the concerns of the Elkhart 4 case. This was the first time the case of the Elkhart 4 reach a national audience.
Dr. Drizin is a Clinical Law Professor at Northwestern University in Illinois and the Assistant Dean at the Bluhm Legal Clinic. Dr. Drizin advocates for juveniles and is an expert on ‘false confessions’. In 2013 Dr. Drizin wrote about the case of the Elkhart 4;
The time has come to align felony murder statutes with adolescent development research and common sense. Courts and legislatures should therefore exempt juveniles from felony murder prosecutions and provide defenses for adults where the death was the result of an unforeseen, intervening event. The case of the Elkhart Four presents a golden opportunity for the Indiana courts and legislature to take these steps and be a beacon to all the other states that will face this issue in the future.
We hope that the recent Indiana Supreme Court ruling in the Elkhart 4 case starts the ball rolling on the reforms Dr. Drizin identified in his writing.
Dr. Drizin continues his advocacy for the wrongfully convicted. The Netflix documentary Making a Murderer has brought the skills and expertise of Dr. Drizin to a national audience. Dr. Drizin has a large role in the tenth episode of the documentatary. He is acting as the appellate attorney for Brendan Dassey. Dassey’s case has been rejected by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and now Dr. Drizin and his team have moved the case to the federal system.
After watching all ten episodes of the fantastic documentary Making a Murderer it is apparent that Brendan Dassey is the victim of a significant injustice. The majority of Making a Murderer is about Steven Avery, but his nephew, Brendan Dassey, plays an important role in the documentary. It is is apparent watching the Netflix documentary that Mr. Dassey was railroaded by the Wisconsin justice system. We hope that Mr. Dassey with the support of Dr. Drizin will have his case carefully reviewed by the impartial federal authorities. We are certain that Mr. Dassey is in good hands being represented by Mr. Drizin.
There are many problems with the justice system. This blog has spent much time and energy documenting a tiny fraction of those problems. Society is very lucky to have people like Dr. Drizin who are willing to fearlessly and efficiently advocate for those who have been harmed by the very dysfunctional justice system. We wish Dr. Drizin the best of luck with the Dassey case and we hope to be able to write about more of his cases and clients in the near future.
After we published this article Dr. Drizin tweeted his support of the Elkhart 4 — We thank him for his support.