It’s easy to think of the most notorious criminals or crimes, but less difficult to pin down who the defense attorneys responsible for all the work behind the scenes of these crimes. Thus, a look at some of the most notorious criminal defense attorneys in law.
1. Johnnie Cochran – the now late attorney, he is cemented in public conscience through his stunning defense of O.J. Simpson (and later iterations in TV, film and books of the “trial of the century.” Simpson was not Johnnie’s only famous name – he also represented Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson and Rosa Parks, all while being a huge civil rights advocate.
2. Ann Bremner – Speaking of Michael Jackson, Ms. Bremner is the attorney who represented Michael Jackson through all of the accusations of child molestation. This woman is unbeatable – no seriously. Ever case she has been the attorney of record on, she has won. In addition to Mr. Jackson, she defended the Des Moines Police Department for their actions in the Mary Kay LeTorneau case, as well as representing Amanda Knox for her role in the murder of her roommate in Italy.
3. Shawn Holley Chapman – You might have seen her face on the cover of various magazines in the grocery store check-out line. She has represented the young, Hollywood elite: Lindsey Lohan, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, and even the ubiquitous Kardashians.
4. Gloria Allred – her name is probably familiar thanks to our President’s alleged antics. She often represents women in sexual harassment cases, but has also represented several of Tiger Woods’ mistresses, and Amber Frey, the key witness in the murder trial of Scott Peterson. She most recently has represented a bevy of women who have accused Mr. Trump of inappropriate sexual contact in the past.
5. Dick DeGuerin – an old cowboy, Mr. DeGuerin has defended Tom Delay, David Korseh, and Robert Durst – who you might remember as the subject of an HBO miniseries. A highly respected attorney, he was voted the Top Criminal Defense Attorney by his peers in the State Bar of Texas.
6. Mark Geragos – the Scott Peterson case had its fair share of media buzz, and Mark Geragos squared up with the State, too. He is known as a “celebrity lawyer,” having represented Chris Brown, Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder. He has gotten into some political scrapes, too, representing Susan McDougal in her trial involving the Whitewater controversy.
7. Dan Webb – Speaking of things getting political, Mr. Webb is one of the top white-collar criminal defense attorneys. He played a huge role in exposing corruption during the Iran-Contra trials, including an interrogation of Ronald Reagan. He has represented some of the biggest companies in the country, including Phillip Morris and Microsoft.
8. Clarence Darrow – This one is a bit old-school, but it’s one for the books. Mr. Darrow defended two murderers in 1924, and his closing arguments lasted 12 hours – apparently long enough to spare the defendants the death sentence. He was also the defense attorney in the Scopes “Monkey” trial, and was a champion of the underdog. He’s been represented on screen and on stage – certainly an icon of defenders.
9. F. Lee Bailey, Jr. – he represented the “Boston strangler,” responsible for sexually molesting and then strangling 13 women in the Boston area. At the time, Mr. Bailey, Jr. was probably the “celebrity attorney”, having represented Dr. Sheppard , whose case went all the way to SCOTUS and secured a new trial for his client. He also represented Patty Hearst and worked on the OJ defense case.
10. Gerry Spence – Another masterful litigator, as of 2014, Spence never lost a criminal case – on either side (as prosecutor or defender). In fact, the last case he lost was a civil matter in 1969. He gained notoriety for the Karen Silkwood case, which won $10.5 million for her family after she died under suspicious circumstances while suing a major production plant. Famously, he defended Lee Harvey Oswald during an unscripted mock trial televised in the United Kingdom.