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Wisconsin criminal defense attorney talks about building a defense under the glare of cameras

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Making a Murderer

Don’t miss your chance to go behind the scenes of the defense of Steven Avery, whose conviction for the murder of Teresa Halbach became the subject of national debate after the release of the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer.”

In an April 2017 ABA Law Student Podcast, “Defending Steven Avery, with Making A Murderer’s Dean Strang,” host Chris Morgan sat down for an interview with one of Avery’s defense attorneys. Morgan is formerly the 12th circuit governor for the ABA Law Student Division and is a 2017 graduate of Gonzaga University School of Law.

During this podcast, we hear how it’s not at all simple being a criminal defense attorney. Both Strang and his cocounsel, Jerry Buting, had to rent out and live in apartments near the courthouse where the trial was to take place.

Learn about the struggles of a public trial and how that can affect the outcome before the case even goes to trial.

This made the already-difficult task of choosing a jury in Avery’s case even harder since most potential jurors had already been tainted by the publicity surrounding Halbach’s murder.

You’ll also get insights on the fact that often, many things you hear on the news are far from the truth, and those half-truths can also be monumental to the outcome of the case.

Strang gives great insight into how to begin a criminal case, regardless of what side you’re on. He also says that in every case, an attorney needs to go to where the crime occurred to know the place and get a better feel for where it happened.

This podcast also covers the presumption of innocence and how that was lost in Avery’s trial from the beginning. There’s also a discussion of cameras in the courtroom.

Strang says there’s a negative effect, and he explains how they can affect how everyone involved acts during the trial.

The “Making a Murderer” documentary drastically changed Strang’s life. Find out why he doesn’t regret his part in the trial of Steven Avery, and hear his words of advice to new and aspiring attorneys on the Law Student Podcast.

LARISSA NONNI is a fourth-year student at Nova Southeastern University—Shepard Broad College of Law and a clerk at Castro Legal Group in Pompano Beach, Fla.

Student Lawyer Student Lawyer magazine provides guidance on educational, career, and related issues for ABA Law Student Division members and other subscribers. It is published four times a year by the Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. Student Lawyer is available online to members of the ABA Law Student Division and to print subscribers.