Making a Murderer - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Stephen Avery - Framed by Manitowoc's 'finest' not just once but now twice?
Making a Murderer hit the viewing public like the Mother of All Bombs during Christmas time 2015. With inclement weather afflicting population centers, many viewers binge-watched Making a Murderer with the same dedication of a drinker to a couple of cases of Jamesons. Certainly, nothing in the true crime genre had come close to this televised dynamite, except perhaps De Lestrade The Staircase, although none of the characters came across particularly well, except perhaps David Rudolf.
Shortly after Making a Murderer's release it's seemed that a long-dormant interest in the deeply flawed US criminal justice system, the Bill of Rights and America's shameful penal system had arisen in the hearts of many thousands of average Americans. The then amateur filmmakers, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos ('demos' ironically originating from the early Greek for democracy) who started with scant resources but a reservoir of patience and determination became highly respected and rewarded for their sterling work.
Needless to say, such a worldwide documentary blockbuster gave birth to a flurry of books on the subject, some good, some bad and some downright ugly. Worth mentioning is Shaun Attwood's Unmaking A Murderer, which goes some way in backing up Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey's innocence and the thoroughly rotten tactics of local law enforcement's 'finest' plus hitting and not missing the villain of the piece, the former DA and later convicted sex offender, Ken Kratz.
However, I've decided to focus on Avery's trial and framing-up via two books, from both a prosecution and defense perspective: Steven Avery's defense attorney, Jerome Buting's Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System and Ken Kratz's dubious opus Avery: The Case Against Steven Avery and What 'Making A Murderer' Gets Wrong.
There will be no doubt in anyone's mind after reading Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System, that Jerry Buting has always believed in the innocence of Steven Avery and his nephew, Brendan Dassey. Buting's book ably demonstrates that he has not faltered in his efforts to keep Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey's cause in the public domain, both before and after the groundbreaking Netflix docu-series. Jerry's cause is not limited to just two defendants, he seeks to effect real change in a broken system and he is in it for the long run. Jerry Buting says that in his work as a criminal defense attorney, he still covers long periods away from home. Some cases can be described as sprints or middle-distances. Yet for many others, getting real justice is a trip that can take decades.
Interspersed with insider details of the deeply flawed trials, defense strategies and interpersonal relations with the Avery family, near bruising encounters with Kratz, Jerry gives details of his own family life, his rocky road through Law School, early days as a lawyer, we hear of another tortuous miscarriage of justice, Jerry was involved in and eventually helped clear the unfortunate defendant, Ralph Armstrong. Armstrong had spent more than 28 years in Wisconsin's penal system before he was eventually exonerated of his 2009 conviction.
Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System is the book for you if you are to the left of Attilla The Hun, of sound mind and not part of the 'hang' em and flog 'em brigade. Jerome F Buting's book can be purchased on Amazon.com via this page or any good book store. Jerry is a partner in the Buting, Williams & Stilling law firm in Brookfield, Wisconsin and also has a Twitter account @JButing where one can get a variety of snapshots of his legal work, life, and speaking engagements
The Ugly Side
Herr Kratz' Kampf
I approached the dread task of reading this book with the unprejudiced objectivity that was sadly lacking in Manitowoc County’s District Attorney’s Office during King Kratz’s infamous reign. I would stress that even though the most casual research suggests that Kratz is an internationally hated figure, due to his alleged penchant for serious ethical violations, including but not limited to, perjury; fabricating evidence; crimes against the women, the poor and vulnerable; which are compounded by an alleged myriad of many, many other despicably craven acts, I did not let my research of this alleged fiend prejudice my approach to Kratz’ self-proclaimed literary opus.
The foreword by internationally despised, reactionary cretin, Nancy Grace, proved an accurate signpost to the dire literary journey I was about to endure. Sadly, any reasonable person’s thoughts after reading a quarter way through the book will be whether they can get a refund. By midway through, a reader will begin to wonder did Hydrocodone have a guiding hand in Kratz’s wordsmithing? The seriously lengthy inventory of deep-seated resentments towards people, places and things Kratz spews out was impossible to ignore. Around the same point in reading Kratz's 'book', one may experience an arcane revelation as to the true meaning of the term ‘vanity publishing.’
The only vaguely useful section of this book is that it allows one to understand the psychopathy of the author. While reading Kratz book one may well find correlations between the totally false and fictional slasher-porn type press conference, Kratz concocted at his infamous 'press conference' documented in the Netflix docu-series.
By the time one has finished this highly narcissistic, nasty, polemical potboiler there will be real proof of Kratz's criminality, even outside Manitowoc. Readers will find Kratz is not only responsible for a sordid crimewave against Literature, but also find him unanimously guilty of Larceny – by permanently depriving hapless readers of the sum of £16 ($20) they’ve just paid for his ‘book’.
On surfacing after the dive into this nadir of the lowest circuit of the literary sewer one may well immediately feel the need to take a shower. There is absolutely nothing positive to state about the experience of reading Kratz's book except that positively nobody should ever be foolish enough to pay money for this bound myre of bile, fiction, and nonsense. Manitowoc’s very own Solomon aka Kratz has a Twitter account @Ken723Ken where he has dispensed over 3500 veritable gems of jurisprudence using 140/280 characters backed up by his uncharming, Alt-Right wife. Needless to say, it is not advisable to give him your cellphone number given his convictions for 'sexting' former victims when he was an elected DA.
However, if one has resisted the temptation to decant this book swiftly into a neighbour’s bin, it may actually be worth keeping as a reference of sorts due to forthcoming legal developments. Any reader or Making a Murderer fan seeking a well thought out opinion of the oppressive indignities visited upon Steven Avery and his co-accused Brendan Dassey by an experienced attorney and author, I can endorse Jerome Buting’s comprehensive book, Illusion of Justice: Inside Making A Murderer And America’s Broken System.
Another recommendation would be Un-Making a Murderer: The Framing of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey by British investigative journalist, Shaun Attwood. Shaun has campaigned for the liberation of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey tirelessly. No stranger to the abuses of the American criminal justice system himself, Shaun has never given up on his pursuit of the exoneration of Avery and Dassey. He has made numerous videos dissecting the injustices that are systemic within the case in particular and the criminal justice system in general.
Un-Making a Murderer: The Framing of Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey Audiobook
© 2019 Liam A Ryan