The White House officially responded to the Change.org petition to free Steven Avery, the featured subject of the popular Netflix documentary series "Making A Murderer" on Friday (Jan. 8) -- the first-ever time they have responded via the website's Decision Maker Response system.
In the statement, the We The People Team at the White House wrote that they appreciated the interest in the Teresa Halbach murder case and then gave a brief civics and government lesson. Unfortunately, it revealed some bad news for the petitioners: The president can't pardon Steven Avery or Brendan Dassey.
"To best respond to your petition, we should go over what exactly presidential pardoning power entails," the statement read, explaining how the "clemency authority" of the POTUS "empowers the President to exercise leniency towards persons who have committed federal crimes" and to "convictions adjudicated in the Superior Court of the District Columbia and military court-martial proceedings," but it doesn't extend to state criminal offenses.
"Since Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey are both state prisoners, the President cannot pardon them," the statement continues. "A pardon in this case would need to be issued at the state level by the appropriate authorities."
They proceeded to outline a few of the Obama administration's other criminal justice policies -- from his commutations for non-violent drug offenders to his commitment to 21st century police reform -- but, again, it's clear that as far as the famed "Making A Murder" case is concerned, the president can't do anything about it.