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Who Is Kathleen Zellner? New Details On Steven Avery's New Attorney In 'Making A Murderer' Season 2

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Who is Kathleen Zelner?
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She is determined to free Steven Avery.

Who is Kathleen Zelner? Are you all caught up on Making A Murderer? The second season premiered on October 12th and Steven Avery has a new attorney on his case who is determined to free Avery after more than a decade in prison for the murder of photographer Teresa Halbach. The first season of the Netflix show centered on 56-year-old Steven Avery, his nephew Brendan Dassey, and whether or not Avery is Halbach's killer. Now, Avery has a new attorney named Kathleen Zellner and she is determined to get to the bottom of things and make sure Halbach's actual murderer is behind bars. 


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1. Her law career

Kathleen Zellner is a 61-year-old attorney practicing in the Chicago suburb of Downer's Grove, Illinois. She specializes in wrongful convictions. Since she founded her law firm in 1991, she has been about to exonerate 19 men who were wrongfully convicted of their crimes. Many of her clients are pro bono. The convictions she has been able to have overturned have changes laws in her home state of Illinois and across the U.S. She attended Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada for her undergraduate degree. She obtained her law degree from Northern Illinois University. She is the only trial attorney in the United States who has won 5 multimillion dollar record verdicts in the span of 11 months.


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2. She is Steven Avery's new attorney

In the trailer for the second season of Making A Murder, Kathleen says, "I have one goal and that's to overturn the conviction of Steven Avery." Avery was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2007 for the murder of Teresa Halbach. Zellner said that "the deeper we dig into the Avery conviction, the more evidence we uncover of his innocence. It does not matter how long it takes, what it costs or what obstacles we have to overcome — our efforts to win Mr. Avery's freedom will never stop."

3. Her effort to free Avery

In July, Zellner filled a 599-page document with the Wisconsin Circuit Court in Manitowoc County. She also asked the court to allow her to supplement her filing with a CD containing 2,499 pages of data downloaded from Brandon Dassey's family laptop. Zellner said the CD contains evidence that Bobby Dassey, Brendan's older brother, gave false testimony and is a legally viable alternate suspect in the murder of Teresa Halbach. The filing and CD includes images of violent pornography in which women are being violated and tortured. Zellner says she can prove that this pornography was largely accessed at times when only Bobby Dassey was home. Bobby Dassey was a key witness for the prosecution in the original trial of his brother and uncle. 

4. Her argument

In October 2017, shortly after the Wisconsin court denied Avery's request for a new trial, Zellner argued that the decision was made before she was able to submit all the new evidence that the courts and State has agreed to, including the CD that implicates Bobby Dassey in the murder. In June, the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with Zellner, saying that the Circuit Court acted in haste and must consider her request to supplement the record. 

5. Other clients

Kathleen Zellner also represents a victim of convicted serial child molester and former team doctor for USA Gymnastics, Larry Nassar. On September 8th she tweeted, “Filed a 109 page lawsuit with 23 counts on Friday against MSU and Larry Nassar. Institutionalized evil is the worst.” 


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6. Law was her second choice

Zellner originally thought that she would have a career as a history professor. Her husband encouraged her to go to law school. Even then, she didn't think she'd be a trial attorney. After law school she did litigation work for two law firms. She told Law Crossing, “At the point when I started working for them, women were sort of relegated to preparing the cases and maybe second chairing them, but they weren’t really given the opportunity to try the case or be the lead counsel on the cases." 

Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering entertainment, pop culture, beauty, fashion, fitness, technology, and the intersection of technology, business, and philanthropy. She is deeply devoted to her chocolate Labrador and an avid long distance runner. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

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