OCTOBER 11-14, 2018

and year round


Illusion of Justice - Jerome Buting - <span class="date-display-single">06/14/2017 - 7:00pm</span>

Illusion of Justice

06/14/2017 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301

Presented in partnership with Mystery to Me Bookstore, Jerome Buting discusses his new book, Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken Justice System. 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 hard 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 Netflix documentary sensation Making a Murderer, which made Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey, household names and thrust America’s criminal justice system into the spotlight. 


Their ongoing saga—which will be covered in a second season of Making a Murderer—has sparked as much debate about the integrity of our criminal justice system as it has about whether Avery and Dassey are guilty or innocent. “Beyond the Netflix documentary, there is much more to say about the Avery investigation and trial, its flaws, and how they can be seen in other fascinating, if less celebrated, cases that I’ve worked on,” Buting explains. “Taken together, they show us what is wrong with our system. Just as importantly, they provide a roadmap to urgently-needed reforms. We all count on the presumption of innocence, and all of us need to protect this bedrock of our society.” Jerry Buting wrote Illusion of Justice to make a case for criminal justice reform that looks at the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey trials and beyond to show what the world feels like to people who are standing alone and accused. “As a defense lawyer,” he says, “my place is by their side.”


Millions of Americans are now familiar with the stories of Avery and Dassey, but as Buting reveals, it was a very different experience for those living through the investigation and trial, both of which raised significant concerns. Interwoven with his account of the Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey trials is Buting’s own story, from his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions working with the Innocence Project, which 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, he explores his professional and personal motivations, including a battle with a rare cancer that almost cost him his life; 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. 

Jerome Buting

About Presenter Jerome Buting


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, and chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Criminal Law Section. He lectures worldwide and is frequently sought by national TV and radio show hosts 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.


Illusion of Justice

Madison Public Library logo

201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703


join the conversation #wibookfest

we couldn't do it without you: