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.
Interweaving an insider’s account of the true crime saga driving Netflix sensation Making a Murderer with other controversial cases from his career, this powerful memoir from Steven Avery’s defense attorney reveals the flaws in America's criminal justice system and puts forth a provocative, persuasive call for reform.
Not since The Thin Blue Line has there been a true crime saga as engrossing as Making A Murderer. Captivating audiences across demographic lines, it made Steven Avery a household name and thrust defense attorney Jerome F. Buting—and his fight against America’s dysfunctional criminal justice system—into the spotlight.
In Illusion of Justice, Buting uses the Avery case as a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of our law enforcement and legal systems, which he has witnessed firsthand for nearly four decades. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions, his story provides a compelling insider’s view into the high-stakes world of criminal defense, and suggests that while in principle the law presumes innocence, in practice it more often than not presumes guilt.
Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional motivations, the high-profile cases that defined his career, and the path to much-needed criminal justice reform. Taking its place beside acclaimed bestsellers such as 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 the judicial system work as it is designed to do.