What Cases Did Jerome Buting & Dean Strang Defend Before Steven Avery's? The Wisconsin Lawyers Boast Successful Careers
Thanks to the widely popular Netflix docuseries, attorneys Jerome Buting and Dean Strang have become household names for a single case in their long and eventful legal careers. As accomplished defense attorneys, though, the Making a Murderer lawyers have done much more in their professional lives than just defend Steven Avery. Separately from each other and from the captivating Avery case, Buting and Strang have defended their fair share of intense court cases. (Note: potential spoilers ahead.)
Buting and Strang came together in the mid-2000s when Avery was charged with the murder of Teresa Halbach in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, the case at the center of Netflix's 10-episode docuseries. As Making a Murderer lays out, the pair unsuccessfully argued that Avery had been framed by local police for the 25-year-old photographer's murder. (However, the case is still being appealed to this day.)
Today, they are still both practicing defense attorneys, each at his own Wisconsin firm. Buting is a partner at Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C., based in Brookfield, while Strang is with his own Strang Bradley, LLC in Madison. Although they haven't tag-teamed every case throughout their careers (but wouldn't that make for a great Netflix spin-off?), their careers have shared some similarities beyond the Avery case.
For instance, Buting and Strang both previously worked as public defenders, state-appointed attorneys for people who cannot otherwise afford to hire legal representation. Even in choosing cases at their respective firms, they both clearly see value in defending those who may be wrongfully accused or misjudged. In 2003, just two years before Avery's case, Buting brought an appeal in federal court on behalf of a man named Theodore Oswald, who was convicted years earlier of robbing a bank and fatally shooting a police officer during an O.J. Simpson-like pursuit. The car chase and a shootout with police were filmed and broadcasted throughout the area, which Buting successfully argued could have resulted in jury bias. In 2005, the same year Avery was charged with Halbach's murder, Buting won an appeal for a man named Ralph Armstrong, who was convicted of murder and later retried thanks to DNA evidence.
Strang has handled at least one bank robbery case of his own — and one with unique circumstances, at that. In the 1990s, Strang defended Timothy Raskiewicz, who was convicted of robbing a bank where he previously worked by posing as a "gorilla-gram" delivery man. He entered the bank wearing a gorilla suit and carrying a handful of "Happy Birthday" balloons, which he reportedly released in order to distract the security guard on duty. Like Buting's case, Strang argued in the appeals process that the jury may not have been fairly selected. However, he was unsuccessful in that appeal.
For both Buting and Strang, the repertoire of cases goes on and on. What's more, they've continued to keep in touch with Avery. They last met with him in prison in the middle of December, according to an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Perhaps viewers will be seeing more of the defense duo if Making a Murderer Season 2 comes to fruition.