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From left to right: Jerry Butting, Dean Strang, Dr Hannah Quirk.

REVIEW: A Conversation On Making A Murderer

It was the Netflix series that had us all captivated.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Wisconsin defence attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting, the stars of the gripping Netflix series ‘Making a Murder’, managed to sell out the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester, as part of their national tour.  The duo with their newfound heart-throb status sat down with Dr Hannah Quirk, a Senior Lecturer in Crime and Justice, to give an insight into the American legal system.

The auditorium, bustling with Making A Murderer fanatics who were hoping that the pair would satisfy their unanswered speculation, were left disappointed after struggling to hear the questions delivered by Dr Quirk and with tickets being sold for £30, the audience were unable to ask any questions as they instead came from Twitter users who weren’t present at the event.

Although this was the case, the pair who are famously known for defending Steven Avery in the highest profile case that Wisconsin has ever seen, still answered many questions that weren’t answered in the 10 hour series. Strang explained that the case in 2007 “was one of the earliest cases to be streamed live”. Yet, it wasn’t until December of last year that the ten part series turned into a worldwide phenomenon, with every viewer casting their judgment on Avery’s guilt.

The popularity of the series has seen the commission of a season two, as many have been left questioning his guilt, police corruption, the meaning of justice and the American legal system. With more questions left to be answered, the legal duo who have worked together for ten years embarked on the tour with Buting saying that “wrongful convictions happen all over the world and people think that whether Avery is guilty or not, this is not what a criminal justice system should look like.”

Whilst Avery is currently serving his life sentence for the murder of young photographer Teresa Halbach, Brendan Dassey’s (Avery’s nephew) conviction for her murder was overturned in August of this year, adding to more speculation to why Avery is still behind bars.

When asked about what reforms they would each like to see in the US justice system, Buting was quick to point out the interrogation method, which the American police use and have used since the 1950s, he highlighted that “they need to have a less confrontational approach, as it leads to people who are mentally challenged like Brendan, to falsely confess”.

A question from Twitter gave us a further insight into the racism still prevalent throughout America, Strang raised the point that every person involved in the investigation and trial was white and that he does wonder whether the case would’ve been as widespread if Avery was black.   

Another important point raised was the effect that the media had on the jury, with the duo both believing that the media may have affected the jury’s judgement before the trial, something that they had never commented on before and is considered an illegal offence in the UK.

The conversation left you questioning the reliability of the US justice system and would the verdict have been different if the case was heard in the UK.

Strang and Buting still believe that Avery is innocent, as Buting said “Everything was going right in Avery’s life for once, his lawsuit for $38 million for being wrongly accused, was going well”.

As for prosecutor Ken Kratz, the pair are not sure what he is up to nowadays but they predict that they will probably be passing each other soon.

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