legal

Over his career, Jerome F. Buting has spent hundreds of hours in courtrooms representing defendants in criminal trials. When he agreed to join Dean Strang as co-counsel for the defense in Steven A. Avery vs. State of Wisconsin, he knew a tough fight lay ahead. But, as he reveals in Illusion of Justice, no-one could have predicted just how tough and twisted that fight would be -- or that it would become the center of the documentary Making a Murderer, which made Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey household names and thrust Buting into the spotlight.

His book is Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America's Broken System.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright in which the Supreme Court ruled, unanimously, that defendants in criminal cases deserved legal representation in state courts. If defendants could not afford counsel, the state would have to provide it. Those lawyers are known as public defenders. 

New York's anti-corruption commission that's asking state lawmakers to reveal private law clients has the backing of the state Bar Association, which says attorney-client privilege doesn't bar the disclosure required in 20 other states.

The New York State Bar Association argues the names often are already in public court records; they're just not collected in a place for the public and ethics enforcers to see.

Two Counties Share a Service to Save Money

Dec 20, 2012

Two counties in New York’s Hudson Valley will be sharing a legal service that officials say could save the counties’ taxpayers more than 300-thousand dollars a year. Ulster County Executive Mike Hein and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro say their counties are starting a one-year pilot program to share legal defense counsel. And here’s why:  when a Public Defender’s Office is disqualified from representing a client because of a legal conflict, a private attorney is assigned.  The private attorney then bills the County according to rates established by New York State.