Making a Murderer‘s Defense Attorney Jerry Buting, who rose to fame following the December-aired Netflix show following Steven Avery’s case, spoke out about his former client’s conviction.
Jerome Buting, who defended Steven Avery alongside Dean Strang, has expressed his concern about the jury’s objectivity in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine.
The lawyer, who was filmed over two years for Making a Murderer, says newly-discovered evidence could still free Avery.
“It may be somebody on the jury,” he told the magazine. “It may be somebody who knows something that happens with the jurors. I’ve still got my suspicions about whether something improper occurred during the deliberations.”
Directors Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi have revealed that at least one juror from the case came forward since Making a Murderer aired in December. Apparently fearing “for their personal safety,” this member of the jury felt obliged to convict Avery for the murder of 25-year-old photographer Teresa Halbach.
Buting says the initial vote in the jury – before the deliberations started – was seven not guilty, three guilty and two undecided. This was later swung to an unanimous decision of guilty to convict Avery, which Buting suspects could have been the result of some undue pressure “that might’ve affected the fairness of each individual juror.”
The lawyer goes on to say that although he can not prove it at this time, he’s not sure no one interfered with the jury during their deliberation, a time “they’re supposed to be sequestered and kept free from outside influence.”
‘Making a Murderer’ reveals a system focused on confessions and convictions https://t.co/hauhTw6qhK
— Jerome Buting (@JButing) January 14, 2016
Avery’s ex-fiancee, Jodi Stachowski, who vehemently defended him during his trial and seemed to willingly participate in Making a Murderer, changed her position this week, as The Inquisitr reported.
Asked about this on AOL Build, Buting skilfully defends Avery once more. He describes Stachowski as a “vulnerable woman” who, as can be seen on Making a Murderer, was constantly pushed and pressured by the police throughout the trial. Buting says after many attempts to turn her against him, they finally succeeded. Stachowski broke off her relationship with Avery during his trial, before his conviction in 2007.
Buting says one of the jurors was dismissed late in the trial for having talked about the case to other people in a public place. Another one admitted her husband was pressuring her to know all details about the case and impose his opinion that Avery was guilty. Another member had been a volunteer for the Manitowoc Sheriff Department. This isn’t shown on Making a Murderer, but a lot of information has emerged since the documentary aired.
Other improprieties regarding the jury selection and the difficulty to ensure a fully impartial sample of the population is selected was revealed on Making a Murderer. As Buting and Strang go through the jury questionnaires, they read that 129 out of 130 had admitted they thought Avery was guilty, all due to the pre-trial publicity received by the case in the media and to Avery’s relative fame.
While many think you can freely pick and choose who you want to appear on a jury, Buting explains it’s more a case of “eliminating who you don’t want.” He says attorneys only have a limited number of strikes they can use to get rid of people for any reason, such as the suspicion of bias or a close relationship to the case, which explains why the jury on Making a Murderer was not, in their eyes, ideal.
Avery recently filed a pro-se motion, which is done without an attorney, but sometimes helped by more informed inmates, Buting said. But the lawyer says these are pretty rudimentary and their success is rare. Buting added that he was still in touch with Avery and was not ruling out future involvement in his case, which he stepped away from during the appeal in order to let new lawyers and pairs of fresh eyes to look at the case.
[Photo via AP Photo/Morry Gash, Pool]