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Author Information

Author Jerome F. Buting has worked for more than 35 years as a criminal defense lawyer in the state of Wisconsin. He was a founding member of the law firm Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C. Since 1993, his criminal defense law practice focuses on the defense of serious and complex criminal offenses, both state and federal, trial and appeal. Throughout his career, most of his cases have dealt with criminal law, including homicides and violent crimes, sex and drug offenses and internet sex crimes.

Over the course of his career, Jerry has worked on many high profile cases while also serving as a frequent lecturer on DNA, computer crimes and other forensic evidence. His reputation as a tenacious, talented defense attorney preceded his role as the co-defense attorney in the State v. Steven Avery murder trial in 2007. His performance throughout the trial and his efforts toward exposing both the shaky integrity of law enforcement and inherent flaws in the justice system came to national attention following Netflix’s popular documentary Making a Murderer.

Jerry has embraced this new platform to start a worldwide and direct conversation with the general public, to educate, engage, exchange ideas and offer solutions for comprehensive reforms to reinstate the integrity and trust our Justice System should embody. His interactive forums provide additional impetus and material to enrich his personal and professional experience. It is this collective knowledge, which he has written about in his book “Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System” (Harper 2017), where he enlightens his readers about the dysfunction found in the criminal justice system and proposes ways in which we can perpetuate change.

It is my work to demand that my adversaries in court, the many who are honorable and the handful who are not, meet the requirements of the law.”

Jerry Buting was raised in suburban Indianapolis, one of seven children to devout Catholic parents. Growing up within the shadow of the Vietnam War and the social unrest of the civil rights movement, Jerry recalls: “I idealized my ability to change the world for the better. Even the unspeakable corruption of Watergate did not dampen my enthusiasm.”

Jerry attended Indiana University and graduated with a BA in forensic studies and a minor in history, two subjects that would naturally prepare him for law school. He went on to pursue his law degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An internship at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., during law school provided a lasting insight and appreciation “for how good prosecutors approach their work with integrity and honesty,” and this experience helped shape his career as a defense attorney.

While his career focus is the defense of the citizen accused, there were two defining cases that would fortify his commitment towards criminal justice reform: State of Wisconsin v. Steven A. Avery and State of Wisconsin v. Ralph Dale Armstrong. Both are described in detail in his book, “Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System” (Harper 2017).

However, in 2001, the greatest challenge wasn’t happening in the courtroom. It would play out over a grueling year at a local hospital as he battled cancer. The aggressive treatments nearly cost him his life, tested his faith and prompted exhaustive reflection on his vocation and life purpose. His wife and law partner, Kathy Stilling, managed both home and office workloads, as Jerry slowly recovered, determined to continue the fight. As with many cancer survivors, Jerry was provided with a new lens on life. Re-energized in his vocation, his focus would be on making a difference in people’s lives, “using the tools of mind, personality, and spirit given to me, for however long I could.”

Our goal has been to maintain a practice that allows us to give each client a full measure of representation and not take the shortcuts that are inevitable in the high-volume work of public defenders’ offices…I’ve found that successful balance, and as a result more clients follow because we take the time to provide the full representation each client deserves.”

Throughout his career as a criminal defense attorney, Jerry Buting has encountered many personal and professional trials, all of which bolstered his resolve to make a difference. He has been a tireless and powerful advocate for needed reform in the United States Criminal Justice System. He has frequently contributed his expertise to The Innocence Project as he supports their efforts to exonerate the wrongly convicted and prevent future injustices. He understands how the system fails the less fortunate; those without education, financial resources and support of family or community. His personal and professional mission is to give them a voice, a fair trial without prejudice, competent representation, and the constitutional right to presumption of innocence. He is waging a war against tainted jury pools, corrupt police interrogation practices, false confessions, incentivized informants, misapplication of forensic science, inadequate defense and the faulty appeals process, all of which contribute to the broken U.S. Justice System.