Published: March 2017
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 State of Wisconsin v. Steven A. Avery, he knew a tough fight was 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 observed firsthand for more than thirty-five 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 the 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.
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