News Release

Attorney Jerome F. Buting Receives Champion of Justice Legal Award

Washington, DC (July 31, 2017) – Wisconsin Attorney Jerome "Jerry" F. Buting was honored Friday night with the Champion of Justice Legal Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL). The award was presented at the Foundation for Criminal Justice Awards Gala Dinner at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA. Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of American citizens and have fought to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime.

Buting is well known for his representation of Steven Avery as shown in the Netflix docuseries, "Making a Murderer." The series follows Avery in his trial for the murder of Teresa Halbach, for which he was eventually convicted. The trial was widely followed largely because Avery had previously been wrongfully convicted and served eighteen years in prison for an unrelated sexual assault and attempted murder. After Avery's exoneration, and after he had brought a lawsuit against the law enforcement officials responsible for his wrongful conviction, he was accused of the Halbach murder. The outcome of the Halbach case has been very controversial and has brought accusations of law enforcement and prosecutorial misconduct. The series also depicts the trial of Avery's nephew Brendan Dassey, whose confession called into question law enforcement interrogation techniques. "Making a Murderer" is largely credited with increasing public exposure to the problems with the criminal justice system. In a 2016 interview with Carolina Law magazine, Buting noted that the documentary depicts a side of the system not typically shown on the television screen. "There aren't really any defense lawyer role models," he said. "I hope people will see that you can do your job ethically, honestly, with integrity and represent your client. I am humbled by it."

"Jerry Buting, along with his co-counsel Dean Strang, epitomize the qualities that diligent, dedicated, and talented criminal defense lawyers display in courtrooms every day," said 2016-17 NACDL president Barry J. Pollack, who presented Buting with the award. "'Making a Murderer' plainly struck a chord with the public. People all over the country were able to observe top flight defense lawyers at work and see the reality of how our criminal justice system works – and how it fails to work. NACDL celebrates Jerry Buting for raising public awareness and exemplifying what is best in our profession."

Buting is a shareholder at the law firm of Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C. in Brookfield, WI. He practices state and federal criminal defense, at both the trial and appellate level. Buting has particular expertise in DNA evidence and forensics. He obtained the reversal of convictions in State of Wisconsin v. Ted Oswald and State of Wisconsin v. Ralph Armstrong (reversing a 25-year-old murder conviction). He began his career as an Assistant State Public Defender for the State of Wisconsin.

A member of NACDL since 1982, Buting served on the board of directors from 1990-92. He is also a past president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and was the chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Criminal Law Section from 2005-07. Buting has been named a Super Lawyer from 2006-16, and he received the 2016 Fierce Advocate Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice for his representation of Steven Avery. He lectures worldwide and is frequently sought after for his knowledge in the use of computer crimes, expert witnesses, and DNA evidence.

Buting received his Bachelor of Arts in Forensic Studies from Indiana University and his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law.

Past recipients of NACDL's Champion of Justice Legal Award include Rick Jones, Anthony Romero, and Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. The full list of past recipients is available here

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Ezra Dunkle-Polier, NACDL Public Affairs & Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7656 or 

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.