Featured Acquisition: Illusion of Justice


Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System by Jerome F. Buting
New York, NY: Harper, 2017
Balcony KF225.A84 B88 2017

Interweaving his account of the Steven Avery trial, the trial at the heart of Making a Murderer, with other high profile cases from his criminal defense career, attorney Jerome F. Buting explains the flaws in America’s criminal justice system and lays out a provocative, persuasive blueprint for reform. 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 was 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. Buting’s powerful, riveting boots-on-the-ground narrative of Avery’s and Dassey’s cases becomes a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of law enforcement and justice in the United States, which Buting has witnessed firsthand for more than 35 years. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions working with the Innocence Project, his story provides a compelling expert view into the high-stakes arena of criminal defense law; the difficulties of forensic science; and a horrifying reality of biased interrogations, coerced or false confessions, faulty eyewitness testimony, official misconduct, and more. Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional and personal motivations, career-defining cases–including his shocking fifteen-year-long fight to clear the name of another man wrongly accused and convicted of murder–and what must happen if our broken system is to be saved. Taking a place beside Just Mercy and The New Jim Crow, Illusion of Justice is a tour de force from a relentless and eloquent advocate for justice who is determined to fulfill his professional responsibility and, in the face of overwhelming odds, make America’s judicial system work as it is designed to.

For more highlights from our library collection, visit our Featured Acquisitions webpage.


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Favorites from Fiction #2

whylawyer_piotrIn this second edition of Favorites from FictionI chose my own personal favorite characters that play lawyers in films and television. These selections include two French films, a Polish film/television episode, and a Swedish and American television series.

Dek05_grab_003.tif1. Piotr from A Short Film About Killing

Originally made for Polish television by director Krzysztof Kieślowski, A Short Film About Killing (1988) is the fifth installment in the ten hour-long Dekalog series. Each film focuses on the residents of a housing complex in late-Communist Poland, whose lives become subtly intertwined as they face emotional dilemmas that are at once deeply personal and universally human. The ten films, pull from the Ten Commandments for thematic inspiration and an overarching structure, grapple deftly with complex moral and existential questions concerning life, death, love, hate, truth, and the passage of time. A Short Film About Killing portrays a very relatable defense attorney named Piotr who represents a young boy that has murdered and stolen from a taxi driver. Although Piotr fully invests himself in the trial, sympathizing with his client (even realizing he was present in the very same cafe with the boy just hours before the murder took place), the boy is found guilty and executed in a brutal fashion. Early on in the film, we see Piotr in an interview scenario with what can be presumed to be the Polish government for a character assessment to hire him on as a public defender. A panel of judge-like authorities questions him – why do you want to be a lawyer? Piotr’s words say a lot about his humble aspirations to do good:

“I hesitate not because I do not know what to say… I’ve been asked this question twice before. When taking entrance exams, the answer seemed simple then. The short answer is: I don’t know. It attracts me. I’ve seen many cases in the last four years. You could describe the work as a social function. I think that’s very important. But most of all… if all goes well… I’ll have the opportunity to meet and understand people I couldn’t meet in any other profession. I believe that as the years pass the answer becomes more elusive. Everyone wonders if what they do makes sense. I fear we have more and more doubts.”

He is then asked what, in his view, deters crime, and gives his opinion on punishment:

“In general terms it is the impact of punishment not on the criminal, but on others to discourage them… shall I put it precisely? … It intimidates others. Article 50 of the Penal Code, it’s a doubtful justification for the severity of the sentences – it is often unjust. Since Cain, no punishment has proved to be an adequate deterrent.”

An extremely moving work, you will find yourself empathizing with the Piotr as he grapples with the realities of an un-feeling legal system that shows no mercy to a soul he believes committed an unlawful and awful act yet whose life circumstances somehow led him down a path to an unavoidable fate he did not really deserve.

2. Lucie from Out 1


1971 epic mystery by French director Jacques Rivette can be viewed in 8 parts totaling nearly 13 hours, or you can opt for a very different theatrical version spanning 4 hours. Either way, the film and plot are difficult to decipher but always intriguing as a sprawling  cast explores parallel subplots with seemingly loosely connected characters uncovering new characters with their own subplots. All plots and characters seem to be at least partially connected to the existence of a secret society  based on Balzac’s “History of the Thirteen”.


One of the most mysterious characters is female lawyer (and apparent member of the Secret 13 group) Lucie. Obviously smart and sexy, she stands out among the cast as one of only three females not directly involved in theatre groups. Her cleverness is showcased multiple times including a grand moment on a rooftop in which another character attempts to blackmail her, but Lucie is too sly for that!

IMG_05023. Marianne from Scenes from a Marraige

Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s 1973 television drama stars successful career women, wife and mother Marianne. In early episodes you see and hear Marianne giving advice to both close friends and clients in her practice of Family Law matters, advising them on divorce. She and her husband Johan even submit to an interview touting the longevity and happiness of their marriage despite their separate and fulfilling professional lives. However, a veil is quickly lifted when Marianne suddenly finds herself in the throws of separation and divorce. Chronicled in a way that makes empathy unavoidable, blind yet strong Marianne sifts through the turmoil, all the while maintaining her career as a lawyer and a good yet strained friendship with her ex.


4. The Young Man from The Bakery Girl of Monceau

The nameless narrator in French director Eric Rohmer’s 1963 short film (23 minutes) is love struck law student. Initially attracted to a beautiful young woman he passes on the street, the student looses faith in his pursuit when she seems to disappear. In his searching the streets of Paris for her, he happens across a bakery and has increasing interactions with the girl working there. After the bakery girl finally agrees to go out with him, the woman he was originally infatuated with resurfaces and he stupidly makes a commitment with her for the same time. He arrives at his choice which is a cold one showing little regard for the feelings of the rejected woman. He rationalizes with himself: “My choice had been above all, moral. One represented truth, the other a mistake, or that was how I saw it at the time.” Although not necessarily a likable character, he is a truly believable and often relatable young man grappling with tough decisions even within a simple and short plot. There are many scenes in which you view him pouring over his case books, studying like a good but stressed law student.

5. Lionel Hutz from The Simpsons

Who doesn’t love Lionel Hutz? This popular American animated television series is one I fell in love with during college, and for nearly eight years now it has been a nightly watching ritual. My family and I have quite a collection of early Simpsons seasons on DVD. He’s the lawyer you love to hate; a humorous example of what a terrible lawyer looks like. What better way to enjoy Hutz than with a few classic clips:


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Watch the Eclipse at UGA

total-solar-elipse-diamondringSanford Stadium is walking distance form the law school and law library! The university will have the eclipse broadcast onto the jumbotron at the stadium for those who do not have viewing glasses. They will also hand out a select amount of glasses to the first people to show up between 1 and 4 pm today! Here is more information from UGA’s Archnews email about the event:

For those attending the viewing, here are a few notes about the event.

  • Viewing the eclipse directly without protective glasses may result in serious eye damage.
  • Please be sure to take proper precautions when viewing the eclipse. The American Astronomical Society’s recommendations for safely viewing the eclipse can be found at:  https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety.
  • There will be a limited number of protective glasses. They will be handed out by volunteers. Those who do not have protective glasses may view the eclipse on the Jumbotron.
  • Parking on campus is set up for a normal academic day. There is no designated parking for this event. The UGA Transit system will be running as usual.
  • All gates on the north side of the stadium from Gate 2 to Gate 4 will be open at 1 p.m.
  • Guests are permitted to bring their own water bottles and backpacks.
  • Restrooms will be open and ready.
  • Concession stands at Section 109-110 will have fountain drinks, bottled water and packaged snacks.
  • Water fountains are available throughout Reed Plaza and the north side of the stadium.
  • The east end zone will be available for ADA seating.
  • Three beverage portables with bottled water will be available at the top of section 102, 104-105 and 106-107.

For more information, see http://calendar.uga.edu/index.php/detail/eclipse-viewing-event-at-sanford-stadium

You can also watch NASA’s coverage of the eclipse online at: https://www.nasa.gov/eclipselive/#NASA+TV+Public+Channel

Posted in Lost in the Stacks (Reference)

Favorites from Fiction #1

This new series will feature librarians and library staff sharing their favorite fictional lawyers from television, films or novels. Our first round of favorites highlights four television show lawyers from Acquisitions Law Librarian Wendy Moore, International Law Librarian Anne Burnett, and Law Library Director Carol Watson as well as a classic literary figure from Special Collections Librarian Sharon Bradley.


perry mason

Perry Mason

“I discovered “Perry Mason” on cable TV reruns when I was in high school. Perry Mason is a criminal defense attorney who always wins his cases and his clients are always innocent. Based on novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, the classic television show ran from 1957-1966 starring Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Hopper.” – Wendy Moore




Horace Rumpole

Horace Rumpole, from the “Rumpole of the Bailey” TV series and short stories. He is an elderly, somewhat disheveled London barrister who often represents underdogs in the Old Bailey. A staunch believer in “innocent until proven guilty,” Rumpole is a fierce advocate who smokes cheap cigars, drinks “plonk” and doesn’t always win his cases.”  – Anne Burnett




John Stone

“Recently my favorite has been John Stone, the washed up defense lawyer with itchy feet in “The Night Of.” I also have a love/hate relationship with Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti), the morally questionable DA in “Billions.” ” – Carol Watson





“Portia from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice“. She had to disguise herself as a man to speak in court. Many of the early efforts to admit women to practice law were referred to as Portia laws or bills. Sadly while she makes a famous speech about the quality of mercy she actually shows no mercy to the defeated Shylock.” – Sharon Bradley



Stay tuned to the library’s blog Library with a View for future installments in our Favorites from Fiction series throughout the semester.

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Welcome Back from the Library Director

library staff 1By Carol Watson

On behalf of the staff of the Law Library, I am happy to welcome you to the 2017-18 academic year. We are excited to meet our new first year students as well as to hear about the summer experiences of our 2Ls and 3Ls.  We are looking forward to supporting you in the upcoming year and helping you reach your highest potential.
While you were away for the summer, we have been improving the main floor’s reading room.  A few highlights of the renovation include:
  • Take a look overhead!  We have new and improved overhead lighting.  The new lighting is brighter and is much more energy efficient.
  • The wireless network has been upgraded.  You should experience improved network access when studying in the main reading room.
  • We have two completely new ADA compliant restrooms. Standby for a new water fountain to be installed over Thanksgiving break.
  • There’s new café booth style seating near the new restrooms.  Soon there will be overhead monitors installed at two of the tables so you can work collaboratively with your classmates.
We have also been busy planning events and acquiring resources to make your upcoming year as successful as possible.  Stay tuned for articles in Amicus Briefs to learn more about our new services and resources
Don’t forget:  Reference Librarians are available to assist you Monday-Thursday, 9am – 6 pm; Friday, 9 am – 5 pm; and Sunday, 2 pm – 6 pm.  You can also reach the reference librarians:
AND…you can get nearly anything you want at the Circulation Desk. In addition to reserve books, we have chargers for every kind of electronic device, headphones, ear plugs, tape, paper clips, calculators, umbrellas, book stands, and even a couple of iPads with keyboards.
Our most important advice is if you need something, don’t hesitate to ask. Best wishes for a successful year.
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Best True Crime Podcasts

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (or studying like mad in one of the library’s cubicles) for the last few years it is hard to argue that podcasts are having a renaissance right now. They’re perfect for listening on long car drives, folding laundry and anything in between. And the range of themes is ever expanding. It seems like there isn’t a single category or special niche that doesn’t have a podcast dedicated to it. Even the UGA Law Library has its own podcast! But the subject that has really blossomed recently in the world of podcasts is True Crime and there are some amazing choices out there. I have chosen a few of my personal favorites and while most sway to the spooky all are based on research or true events.


My Favorite Murder

This is one of the most popular podcasts at the moment and its easy to understand why after hearing a few episodes. The shortest explanation: two comedian friends discussing their favorite murders. It sounds macabre but their fun relationship and relaxed environment makes you feel like you are hanging out with your funniest friends who just happen to be discussing serial killers.


Crime Town

Every season, this podcast investigates the culture of crime in a different American city. The most current season takes the unassuming town of Providence, Rhode Island and unmasks it as the seedy crime ridden town once home to some of the most infamous gangsters in America’s history. Be prepared to be shocked and dumbfounded.



Each episode examines historical events that show the dark side of human nature through the lens of both local and international folklore. The narrator makes you feel like you are around a campfire and while it can get silly with episodes about gnomes beware episodes like The Bloody Pit and The Castle  that are perfect fodder for nightmares.


The Last Podcast on the Left

The Last Podcast On The Left covers all the horrors our world has to offer both imagined and real, from demons and slashers to cults and serial killers. This podcast delves DEEP with tons of research and often reserving several episodes to a single topic.


You Must Remember This

This is a storytelling podcast about the secret and forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. It doesn’t seem like an obvious podcast to deal with true crime but old Hollywood is full of feuds, court room drama and murder. If vintage true crime is more your thing then this is the podcast for you.

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Summer Construction Continues: Alternate Walking Routes to the Law Library


With multiple construction projects underway this summer you may have noticed it is not only difficult to get through the library, but also increasingly tough to navigate a path to the library, particularly the annex. If you normally park off of Lumpkin Street and walk to the law library annex or law school by way of Bocock Street, it is an understatement to say getting to your destination is now challenging. Since construction will continue for at least another week blocking the area between the Bocock Street parking lot and Herty Drive, we thought we would share the following map of alternate walking routes:rdb36043

1. Around Candler: Crossing Lumpkin Street and following the sidewalk toward downtown, there is a sidewalk accessible near Candler. Follow that sidewalk to Herty Field by crossing in front of Moore. This is a lovely view of Herty Field and there are always wonderful flowers to view and smell at this end of the field. TIMG_4451hen take sidewalks lining Herty Drive until you see the law library’s picture windows in front of you. Turn left onto the sidewalk that will take you around the law library, and right onto the sidewalk which puts you at the law library entrance.

2. Beside Gilbert: At first glance it may appeaIMG_9662r that you cannot walk by Gilbert Hall at all, but if you take the stairs up to Gilbert’s entrance and you are feeling adventurous, you can walk the small path behind the trees alongside Gilbert. Beware the sprinkler hose underfoot, and possibly campus cats who are the original purveyors of this path. This path puts you out on a sidewalk leading to steps that walk up to a gorgeous view of Herty Field’s fountain. Walk around the fountain, cross IMG_9660Herty Drive, and take the sidewalk to the left of the law library picture windows. Then take a right onto the sidewalk which puts you at the law library entrance. If you try this route as you leave the library, there is a “sidewalk closed” sign – disregard; just be sure you stay behind the yellow caution tape.

3. Between Denmark & Caldwell: After crossing LumpIMG_9654kin Street, take the sidewalk on either side of Bocock street, and cross the street to access the sidewalk that passes in front of Denmark Hall. Denmark will be on your right, and a nice statue on your left. This sidewalk winds around Denmark and through a covered area between Denmark and Caldwell. Take a left onto the next sidewalk and follow it up an incline between Caldwell IMG_9655and Brooks until you reach Herty Drive with the law school in front of you. Enter the law school through the doors into the McManning Cafe area on the first floor. Once inside, if the law library is your destination, you will need to take interior stairs to the 2nd floor where the library entrance is.

IMG_96574. Through the Garden: Possibly the most scenic route to take is to walk from Lumpkin Street’s sidewalk through the Founder’s Memorial Garden, then to take the sidewalk between Denmark/Caldwell and Brooks and enter the law school’s first floor. This route in beautiful, but perhaps the longest walking time and has the most incline. It may be more ideal if you are leaving the library IMG_9645rather than approaching it so you walk downhill instead of up. Once inside, go to the 2nd floor of the law school and into the law library.

There are many other variation of these walking paths. Get creative! Take one route into the library, and different route out of the library. Try walking between the law school and Dean Rusk Hall after taking the sidewalk between Denmark/Caldwell and Brooks. The possibilities are endless, and unfortunately necessary until construction projects are completed and the road and sidewalks between Bocock and Herty Drive (and the 1st floor annex door) open up once again.

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