It's been a busy decade for Steven Avery's former lawyer Jerry Buting. Alongside his co-counsel, Dean Strang, he defended Avery in his now-infamous 2007 trial but ultimately lost: Avery was convicted for the murder of Teresa Halbach and sentenced to life in prison, though he has long maintained his innocence. It was a major case at the time, but even more so after the release of Making A Murderer in 2015 — and in fact, it's significantly affected where Jerry Buting is in 2018.
Following Making a Murderer Part 1's release, Buting and Strang toured the country together in a speaking series titled "A Conversation on Justice," during which they discussed Avery's case and the legal system as a whole. And though Avery hired a new lawyer in 2016, Buting has continued to come to his defense. "I don’t have any difficulty in saying, personally, I think he is innocent," Buting told The Belfast Telegraph in 2016.
Buting also wrote a book, Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System, tied to the show, which he published in 2017. As the Amazon synopsis reads:
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.
So that's what Buting's been up to from 2015 to 2017, but his 2018 has been no less busy.
He's Working On A TV Show
In January, Deadline reported that Buting's book is being made into a legal drama for ABC called Illusion of Justice. The fictional series is based on Buting's real life, following a husband and wife as they balance raising their kids while running a criminal defense firm specializing in underdog clients. Buting and his wife Kathy Stilling, who is also his law partner, are both consulting producers.
He's On Another Speaking Tour
Buting has joined forces with David Rudolf, the defense lawyer featured in The Staircase. According to Metro, Buting studied law under Rudolf in college, and now the two are jointly speaking on the "Inside The Staircase" tour. The speaking engagements cover both The Staircase and Making a Murderer and continue through 2019, according to Buting's website.
Buting also told Metro that the reason he even agreed to do Making a Murderer was because he watched the original Staircase docuseries and saw how something like that would operate.
He's Still A Practicing Lawyer
According to Buting's website, he focuses on defense for serious criminal cases. His LinkedIn page shows that he's been with the same firm since 1993: Buting, Williams, & Stilling, S.C., where he works alongside his wife. There, he specializes in "complex criminal offenses" like homicide, white collar crime, wrongful convictions, and more.
The La Crosse Tribune reported in April that Buting was hired to defend Todd Kendhammer, who, per another La Crosse Tribune article, was convicted for murdering his wife and staging a car accident to cover it up. He was sentenced to life in prison and is eligible to apply for parole in 30 years, but Buting wants to make it sooner than that.
"Ultimately, we will try to get his conviction reversed and see that justice is served here," Buting said in the first La Crosse Tribune article. "I think an innocent man has been convicted ... There’s no motive. There is no reason whatsoever for him to suddenly kill his wife and stage this whole thing."
The Tribune reported that Buting didn't yet know when he would file for appeal, but it will be interesting to see how that case goes compared to his work on Avery's.
Between promoting his book, consulting on the ABC show, speaking on tour, and taking on new clients, Buting's 2018 has been jam-packed. And Making a Murderer Part 2 will shoot him right back into the spotlight.