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Steven Avery prosecutor’s leaked diary reveals Ken Kratz’s confession

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//March 26, 2024//

Ken Kratz diary

Ken Kratz page 1 diary obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal during an exclusive interview.

Steven Avery prosecutor’s leaked diary reveals Ken Kratz’s confession

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//March 26, 2024//

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Self-proclaimed prize, and former Calumet County prosecutor Ken Kratz provided his trial diary to the Wisconsin Law Journal during an exclusive interview Saturday.

According to Kratz, he maintained a personal diary throughout the trial. On the first day he wrote, “My family is stressed, just like me.”

“I am naturally concerned with what lies ahead,” Kratz wrote, perhaps foreshadowing some of the career prosecutor’s own personal challenges that surfaced shortly thereafter that led Kratz to be investigated by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and ultimately suspended.

Ken Kratz page 1 diary obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal during an exclusive interview Saturday.

 

During an interview with one of Avery’s original defense counsel on Tuesday, Jerry Buting slammed Kratz’s character.

“Mr. Kratz is a disgraced former prosecutor who was forced to resign because of sexually inappropriate behavior with women, including a victim in a case he was prosecuting. The Wisconsin Department of Justice investigated claims of misconduct against him from fifteen women. He ultimately had his law license suspended by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which called his conduct ‘appalling’, ‘acutely offensive’ and ‘exploitative behavior.” His self-serving alleged “diary” which attempts to portray himself as a professional whose word is “gold” is obviously rebutted by his shameful conduct and license suspension. His negative comments about myself and Dean Strang further demonstrate his unprofessionalism,” Buting said.

In the beginning of the diary, Kratz unveils his media strategy.

“I agreed to make a statement to the media today for the first time since March 2. My philosophy is generally not to comment to the media on any on going criminal proceeding,” Kratz said.

During Kratz’s Saturday interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal, he claimed he wrote the journal as trial commenced and during its duration.

 

However, during an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on Tuesday, Chicagoland-based attorney Kathleen Zellner, legal counsel for Steven Avery, reacted to Kratz’s leaked journal raising red flags.

“In my 30-plus years as a trial attorney, I do not believe I’ve met someone who has written and published a trial diary. Usually, accomplished attorneys let others sing their praises and do not do so themselves. This document was not written contemporaneously with the trial,” Zellner said.

During a follow up interview with Kratz, he maintains the diary was written during the actual trial.

Zellner noted how on page 52 of Kratz’s journal, in the section “that night I wrote my rebuttal,” raise a number of questions.

Ken Kratz diary
Page 52 of Ken Kratz’s trial diary provided to the Wisconsin Law Journal during an exclusive interview.

Ken Kratz diaryThroughout the diary, Kratz took cheap shots at Jerome Buting and Dean Strang, Avery’s original counsel.

“I find the comments on Buting & Strang to be unprofessional at best. Both of them are highly respected members of the State Bar of Wisconsin,” Zellner said.

Zellner also noted the Wisconsin Court of Appeals wants to decide the current appeal without delay.

“Our motion to stay and remand was denied,” Zellner said, noting, “It’s good news the RAV4 must be well preserved for future DNA testing.” ⁦

Zellner noted the appellate court does not want to interrupt the current Avery appeal for DNA testing.

“We will pursue our motion with the Circuit Court when this appeal is concluded,” Zellner added.

During an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal earlier in March, Zellner said, “Guilty individuals do not want DNA testing, but innocent ones do.”

As recently reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, on eve of the Ides of March, Zellner filed papers with the Circuit Court of Manitowoc County in what former prosecutor Ken Kratz described as “a bombshell motion.”

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According to court documents obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal on March 14, Zellner asked the court for a second order to allow Avery to conduct post-conviction testing for touch DNA evidence in Teresa Halbach’s vehicle. Avery was convicted of murdering Halbach.

In Avery’s motion, Zellner noted, “counsel now has the financial resources, donated by Mr. Avery’s supporters, to conduct additional testing on items from Ms. Halbach’s vehicle that have never been tested previously for touch DNA, Mr. Avery is requesting, pursuant to the 2007 DNA Order entered by Judge Willis, that he be allowed to do such testing.”

According to Zellner, the untested items of evidence that Avery requests to conduct testing on are:

  • the driver and passenger seats;
  • the dashboard;
  • the near shift;
  • the steering wheel;
  • the interior and exterior hood latch release;
  • the broken turn signal light (Item A15);
  • the hood prop;
  • the battery cable;
  • the battery;
  • the rear cargo area;
  • interior and exterior cargo door; and
  • the lug wrench and the license plate.

According to Zellner, in addition to performing the touch DNA testing to identify any third party to the murder of Halbach, specific evidence has developed directly connecting Bobby Dassey to being in possession of the RAV-4 and moving it onto the Avery property on Nov. 5, 2005.

Zellner argues Avery is entitled to mandatory testing of Halbach ’s vehicle pursuant to the prior court order entered on April 4, 2007.

As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, the basis for the previously requested hearing was that an alternate suspect was guilty of Halbach’s murder, not Avery.

January’s motion was filed with the Wisconsin Court of Appeals District II seeking alternative remedies after previous requests for a new trial and evidentiary hearing were denied in August by a Sheboygan County judge.

According to court documents previously obtained the Wisconsin Law Journal in January, Zellner said her client is requesting a reversal of the Orders Denying Postconviction Relief and grant an evidentiary hearing, reverse the judgments of conviction and the orders denying Postconviction Relief and remand for a new trial and grant any other relief this Court deems appropriate.

“Conducting an evidentiary hearing on the new evidence of a third party being in possession of Teresa Halbach’s vehicle is vitally important to preserve the integrity of the Wisconsin judicial system. Mr. Avery’s trial defense was that the forensic evidence used to convict him had been planted. Now a witness has placed the vehicle with all of that forensic evidence in the hands of a third party prior to that evidence being discovered,” said Zellner during an interview with the Wisconsin Law Journal on Tuesday. “Can anyone seriously contend if a jury had heard testimony from this witness that a reasonable doubt would not have arisen in the jurors minds about Steven Avery’s guilt?” Zellner asked. 

Zellner and Richards argue in the appellate brief that the Circuit Court improperly attempted to weigh Avery’s facts with speculative theories unsupported by the record rather than accepting his facts as true and determining whether they were sufficiently pled to warrant an evidentiary hearing.

An evidentiary hearing would provide Avery with the opportunity to prove his pleaded claims that he is entitled to a new trial, according to court documents.

Defense counsel further argues, “the circuit court improperly found that the materiality of Mr. Avery’s newly discovered evidence is exclusively contingent upon its satisfaction of the Denny test for admissibility of potential third-party suspect evidence.”

Avery is currently serving life in prison after being found guilty for the murder of 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 current attorney, Kathleen Zellner, remains optimistic that new evidence will prove her client’s innocence.

Avery was the star in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” which originally aired in 2015. The series 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.

Editors Note:

The Wisconsin Law Journal has received a copy of Kratz’s entire trial diary. On Wednesday Kratz requested further pages of the diary not be published without his permission.

 

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