Since 1980, I have focused my law practice primarily on criminal defense. I also practice landlord/tenant law, serving as attorney for several landlords in San Luis Obispo County. I generally do not represent tenants. I also have a limited civil caseload, primarily representing various Central Coast wineries and winery associations.
I have been a defense attorney since 1980, when I left the Kern County DA's office. After three years in a partnership, I began my solo practice in 1983. I moved to San Luis Obispo County in 1986, and have continued to practice here ever since.
I have defended over a dozen individuals charged with murder over my career. Although some of my clients were convicted, I am extremely proud of the fact that no client of mine has ever received the death penalty. In a more recent case in San Luis Obispo County, I was one of the trial lawyers in the Big Money Bandit case, which involved allegations of bank robbery and conspiracy against several Los Angeles residents.
1141 Pacific St
San Luis Obispo CA 93401
I always offer a free initial consultation in criminal cases. I don't have a specific time standard, but generally, a one-half hour consultation will give me enough time to determine what I can do to assist the client.
Most criminal cases are done by attorneys on a fixed fee basis. Retainers for misdemeanors, such as DUI, domestic violence cases, minor theft charges and other offenses, generally are between $1,500 and $2,500, without trial. Trial fees are normally charged at $1,000 per day, and are not charged to the client until a decision has been made to take the case to trial.
Felony retainers range from a low of $3,500 and depend on the nature of the case. A typical non-violent felony retainer is $5,000. Serious or violent felony charges are set individually based upon the case and the estimated time necessary to handle the case short of trial.
Other than trial fees, or expert and investigative costs, the flat fee retainer is the complete charge to the client in criminal cases.
Monday through Thursday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
A little Spanish.
I originally thought I would be involved in Government Contract Law, an area of law that was highly specialized and primarily practiced in Washington, D.C., where I attended law school. I determined after passing the California Bar exam that I was likely better suited to be in court, rather than being behind a desk. I began work as a Deputy DA and never looked back.
I believe it is important that clients are educated as to the law of their situations. I support self-education, so long as the source is accurate, and not some jailhouse or street scuttlebutt.
This comes up in eviction situations mostly. I will use landlord's self-prepared notices if they comply with California law. In criminal law, self-prepared documents are rarely, if ever, an issue.
There are certain situations in minor criminal matters (certain misdemeanors) where the client may not need the services of a lawyer. I will inform a client of that fact when I am certain he or she would achieve the same result by appearing without a lawyer as would occur if I were retained. In those circumstances, I will tell the client what to do in court to make that happen. If the judge or the DA propose a result which is not what was expected, I always tell the client to decline it and request a continuance to retain me, rather than accept a different outcome.
I was a Deputy District Attorney in Bakersfield from 1977 through 1980. I was a partner in a three attorney firm until 1983, when I decided to form my own solo practice. Since 1986, I have practiced in San Luis Obispo County.
My vocation as a musician helped me greatly with appearing in court, as I had familiarity with being in front of people.
I have a strong belief that too many lawyers do not make it clear to the client from the outset what can or cannot be accomplished in a given case. Some attorneys, in an attempt to obtain the client, will exaggerate the consequences, or guarantee a particular result. I strive to be honest with each client as to the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and I make sure that any assessment I make is not based on self-marketing or puffery, but on a straightforward evaluation of the facts, the law and any other relevant variables that may affect the client's situation (such as prior criminal history, etc.).Personal interests:
I am a musician, and play blues harmonica publicly. As a young man, I was in several bands, and, in the early 1970's, co-authored a bluegrass musical, called Panhandle, which received favorable critical attention. It was performed in Los Angeles in 1973, was the Southwest Region winner in 1976 of the American College Theatre Festival, and played off Broadway in New York City (in a revised form) in 1980. I still play when the opportunity presents itself, because, as most musicians will tell you, once a player, always a player.
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