Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System

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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.

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About the author

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 at Chapel Hill. He was board director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers,  past president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Criminal Law Section. He lectures worldwide and is frequently sought for his legal expertise. He is also the recipient of the Fierce Advocate Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, the James Joyce Award from University College Dublin, and the Trinity College Dublin Praeses Elit Award.

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Additional Information

Publisher
HarperCollins
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Published on
Feb 28, 2017
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780062569332
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Lawyers & Judges
Law / Criminal Law / General
True Crime / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A searing and entertaining manifesto on the ills of the criminal justice system from two of America’s most prominent defense attorneys.
 
From the rise of the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle to the television ratings bonanza of the O.J. Simpson trial, a perfect storm of media coverage has given the public an unprecedented look inside the courtroom, kicking off popular courtroom shows and TV legal commentary that further illuminate how the criminal justice system operates. Or has it?
 
In Mistrial, Mark Geragos and Pat Harris debunk the myths of judges as Solomon-like figures, jurors as impartial arbiters of the truth, and prosecutors as super-ethical heroes.

Mistrial draws the curtain on the court’s ugly realities—from stealth jurors who secretly swing for a conviction, to cops who regularly lie on the witness stand, to defense attorneys terrified of going to trial. Ultimately, the authors question whether a justice system model drawn up two centuries ago before blogs and television is still viable today.
 
In the aftermath of recent high-profile cases, the flaws in America’s justice system are more glaring than ever. Geragos and Harris are legal experts and prominent criminal defense attorneys who have worked on everything from celebrity media-circuses—having represented clients like Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson, Chris Brown, Susan MacDougal, and Gary Condit—to equally compelling cases defending individuals desperate to avoid the spotlight.
 
Shining unprecedented light on what really goes on in the courtroom, Mistrial is an enjoyable, fun look at a system that rarely lets you see behind the scenes.
Edgar Award Winner: True stories of miscarriages of justice, legal battles, and landmark reversals, by the creator of Perry Mason.
 
In 1945, Erle Stanley Gardner, noted attorney and author of the popular Perry Mason mysteries, was contacted by an overwhelmed California public defender who believed his doomed client was innocent. William Marvin Lindley had been convicted of the rape and murder of a young girl along the banks of the Yuba River, and was awaiting execution at San Quentin. After reviewing the case, Gardner agreed to help—it seemed the fate of the “Red-Headed Killer” hinged on the testimony of a colorblind witness.
 
Gardner’s intervention sparked the Court of Last Resort. The Innocence Project of its day, this ambitious and ultimately successful undertaking was devoted to investigating, reviewing, and reversing wrongful convictions owing to poor legal representation, prosecutorial abuses, biased police activity, bench corruption, unreliable witnesses, and careless forensic-evidence testimony. The crimes: rape, murder, kidnapping, and manslaughter. The prisoners: underprivileged and vulnerable men wrongly convicted and condemned to life sentences or death row with only one hope—the devotion of Erle Stanley Gardner and the Court of Last Resort.
 
Featuring Gardner’s most damning cases of injustice from across the country, The Court of Last Resort won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. Originating as a monthly column in Argosy magazine, it was produced as a dramatized court TV show for NBC.
 
‘I would have been the first miscarriage of justice… There was this spate of cases: the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four and Cardiff Three. Each one was another nail in my coffin’: Tony Stock, 2008. The story of Tony Stock is astonishing: deeply disturbing it sent out ripples of disquiet when he was sentenced to ten years for robbery at Leeds Assizes in 1970. Over the next 40 years the case went to the Court of Appeal four times and has the distinction of being the first to have been referred to that court twice by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Tony Stock died in 2012 still fighting to clear his name: spending from his meagre savings to hire private investigators and hoping beyond hope to see justice.

Reviews
‘The story of Tony Stock should be mandatory reading for everyone, not merely those involved with the laws. It concerns the quality of our criminal justice system and its serious reluctance and unwillingness to root out injustice’: Michael Mansfield QC. 
‘One of the most outrageous miscarriages of justice of modern times’: Barry Sheerman, Labour MP for Huddersfield.

In the Press
‘If anyone seriously believes the Court of Appeal has reformed itself since the dark days of the Birmingham Six and Bridgewater Four, they should study the unreported and amazing case of Tony Stock’: Private Eye. 
‘I would have thought that the injustice done to Tony (Stock) was fairly self-evident and yet his conviction still stands. I find this very difficult to accept’: Ralph Barrington, investigations adviser at the Criminal Cases Review Commission. 
‘The fight for justice that will not die’: Yorkshire Post.
The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.

Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.
It’s time to set the record straight about Steven Avery.

The Netflix series Making a Murderer was a runaway hit, with over 19 million US viewers in the first 35 days. The series left many with the opinion that Steven Avery, a man falsely imprisoned for almost 20 years on a previous, unrelated assault charge, had been framed by a corrupt police force and district attorney’s office for the murder of a young photographer. Viewers were outraged, and hundreds of thousands demanded a pardon for Avery. The chief villain of the series? Ken Kratz, the special prosecutor who headed the investigation and trial. Kratz’s later misdeeds—prescription drug abuse and sexual harassment—only cemented belief in his corruption.

This book tells you what Making a Murderer didn’t.

While indignation at the injustice of his first imprisonment makes it tempting to believe in his innocence, Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What Making a Murderer Gets Wrong and the evidence shared inside—examined thoroughly and dispassionately—prove that, in this case, the criminal justice system worked just as it should.

With Avery, Ken Kratz puts doubts about Steven Avery’s guilt to rest. In this exclu- sive insider’s look into the controversial case, Kratz lets the evidence tell the story, sharing details and insights unknown to the public. He reveals the facts Making a Murderer conveniently left out and then candidly addresses the aftermath—openly discussing, for the first time, his own struggle with addiction that led him to lose everything.

Avery systematically erases the uncertainties introduced by the Netflix series, confirming, once and for all, that Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Featured in the forthcoming documentary, RBG

“The authors make this unassuming, most studious woman come pulsing to life. . . . Notorious RBG may be a playful project, but it asks to be read seriously. . . . That I responded so personally to it is a testimony to [its] storytelling and panache.”— Jennifer Senior, New York Times

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg never asked for fame—she has only tried to make the world a little better and a little freer.

But nearly a half-century into her career, something funny happened to the octogenarian: she won the internet. Across America, people who weren’t even born when Ginsburg first made her name as a feminist pioneer are tattooing themselves with her face, setting her famously searing dissents to music, and making viral videos in tribute.

Notorious RBG, inspired by the Tumblr that amused the Justice herself and brought to you by its founder and an award-winning feminist journalist, is more than just a love letter. It draws on intimate access to Ginsburg's family members, close friends, colleagues, and clerks, as well an interview with the Justice herself. An original hybrid of reported narrative, annotated dissents, rare archival photos and documents, and illustrations, the book tells a never-before-told story of an unusual and transformative woman who transcends generational divides. As the country struggles with the unfinished business of gender equality and civil rights, Ginsburg stands as a testament to how far we can come with a little chutzpah.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • John Grisham’s first work of nonfiction: a true crime story that will terrify anyone who believes in the presumption of innocence.
 
NOW A NETFLIX ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY SERIES
 
“Both an American tragedy and [Grisham’s] strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
In the town of Ada, Oklahoma, Ron Williamson was going to be the next Mickey Mantle. But on his way to the Big Leagues, Ron stumbled, his dreams broken by drinking, drugs, and women. Then, on a winter night in 1982, not far from Ron’s home, a young cocktail waitress named Debra Sue Carter was savagely murdered. The investigation led nowhere. Until, on the flimsiest evidence, it led to Ron Williamson. The washed-up small-town hero was charged, tried, and sentenced to death—in a trial littered with lying witnesses and tainted evidence that would shatter a man’s already broken life, and let a true killer go free.
 
Impeccably researched, grippingly told, filled with eleventh-hour drama, The Innocent Man reads like a page-turning legal thriller. It is a book no American can afford to miss.
 
Praise for The Innocent Man
 
“Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his bestselling fiction.”—The Boston Globe
 
“A gritty, harrowing true-crime story.”—Time
 
“A triumph.”—The Seattle Times

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from John Grisham’s The Litigators.
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