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Interweaving his account of the Steven Avery trial at the heart of Making a Murderer with other high profile cases from his criminal defense career, attorney Jerome F. Buting explains the flaws in America’s criminal justice system and lays out a provocative, persuasive blue-print for reform.
Over his career, Jerome F. Buting has spent hundreds of hours in courtrooms representing defendants in criminal trials. When he agreed to join Dean Strang as co-counsel for the defense in Steven A. Avery vs. State of Wisconsin, he knew a tough fight lay ahead. But, as he reveals in Illusion of Justice, no-one could have predicted just how tough and twisted that fight would be—or that it would become the center of the documentary Making a Murderer, which made Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey household names and thrust Buting into the spotlight.
Buting’s powerful, riveting boots-on-the-ground narrative of Avery’s and Dassey’s cases becomes a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of law enforcement and justice in the United States, which Buting has witnessed firsthand for more than 35 years. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions working with the Innocence Project, his story provides a compelling expert view into the high-stakes arena of criminal defense law; the difficulties of forensic science; and a horrifying reality of biased interrogations, coerced or false confessions, faulty eyewitness testimony, official misconduct, and more.
Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional and personal motivations, career-defining cases—including his shocking fifteen-year-long fight to clear the name of another man wrongly accused and convicted of murder—and what must happen if our broken system is to be saved. Taking a place beside Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow, Illusion of Justice is a tour-de-force from a relentless and eloquent advocate for justice who is determined to fulfill his professional responsibility and, in the face of overwhelming odds, make America’s judicial system work as it is designed to do.
Robert Kolker is the New York Times bestselling author of Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, a narrative-nonfiction chronicle of unsolved murder that was named one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Top Ten Books of the year. An award-winning investigative journalist, he currently is a Projects & Investigations reporter for Bloomberg News.
Jerome F. Buting, author of Illusion of Justice:
Jerome F. Buting is a shareholder in the Brookfield, Wisconsin law firm of Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C. He received his undergraduate degree in Forensic Studies from Indiana University and his law degree from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. He is a past board director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, a past president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Criminal Law Section from 2005 to 2007. His present private practice is entirely criminal defense, both trials and appeals. He has defended the citizen accused in many serious high profile trial cases, including the Steven Avery case, and he obtained the reversal of convictions in State of Wisconsin v. Ted Oswald and State of Wisconsin v. Ralph Armstrong (reversing a 25 year old murder conviction). He lectures worldwide and is frequently sought after for his knowledge in the use of expert witnesses and DNA evidence. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Fierce Advocate Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.