Although Making a Murderer is in many ways a true-crime show, the Netflix docuseries ultimately says more about the U.S. justice system than about any one person’s case. And if there’s one thing Jerry Buting, one of the defense attorneys who represented Steven Avery, wants viewers to consider while watching the show, it’s the power they have over the legal system.
“People need to take ownership of their criminal justice system,” Buting tells Rolling Stone. “They decide whether to reelect a prosecutor. They should know what goes on in the courts. They decide whether to reelect judges. It’s hard for them, because they don’t know. They’re not down there and see what happens, but they should ask around, talk to prosecutors, talk to defense attorneys, talk to people who’ve had experience with elected officials in our courts and make a rational, reasoned judgment about whether they belong in the positions of power that they have.”
Moreover, he urges Americans to take jury summonses seriously. “When people do [serve on a jury] they have to uphold the law, they have to hold the state to its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and make sure the defendant is presumed innocent by them,” he says. “And when they get into the jury room, if they do, that they’re entitled to their own opinion and they’re entitled to keep that opinion.”
Since the 10-episode series premiered last month, a juror from the Avery case reached out to one of the Making a Murderer filmmakers to argue Avery did not get a fair trial. “They believe Steven was framed by law enforcement and that he deserves a new trial, and if he receives a new trial, in their opinion, it should take place far away from Wisconsin,” documentarian Laura Ricciardi said in an interview earlier this month.