Since graduating from law school in 1994, Mr. Lemon has dedicated his practice of law to the representation of the accused. First working exclusively for indigent defendants as a Deputy Public Defender in San Diego County, then as a trial attorney at Federal Defenders of San Diego, Inc., he now maintains his criminal- defense practice through The Law Offices of John C. Lemon. APC
Mr. Lemon has handled a broad range of serious felony cases in both federal and state courts – including fraud offenses, narcotics offenses, and violent crimes – with an emphasis on large, multi-defendant indictments alleging RICO, white-collar conspiracies, drug-trafficking conspiracies, and money laundering.
Although the conviction rate for criminal defendants in federal court is over 90%, Mr. Lemon has won acquittals and hung juries in many serious cases, including drug trafficking, human trafficking, money laundering, and murder. For example, in 2008, he tried a complex federal murder case involving an alleged prison gang. His client, who was facing a mandatory sentence of life without the possibility of parole, was acquitted of all six felony counts – including first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and assault with intent to commit murder – and immediately released from federal prison.
Mr. Lemon also maintains an aggressive appellate and motions practice. He has successfully argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on several occasions, including a 2013 argument before the en banc court where he won a nearly-unanimous reversal on the basis of prosecutorial misconduct. United States v. Maloney, 755 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2014). And he has won numerous motions to suppress in both the federal district courts and California trial courts.
Of course, not every client is best served by a jury trial. Accordingly, Mr. Lemon maintains a cogent and professional negotiating style to the benefit of all his clients, many of whom receive favorable dispositions and even dismissals.
Mr. Lemon holds a B.A. in Letters with Distinction from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He is certified as a Specialist in Criminal Trial Advocacy by the State Bar of California and the National Board of Trial Advocacy. And he has been Peer Review Rated “AV” (the highest rating for legal ability) by Martindale-Hubbell, was awarded the “Super Lawyers” designation by Law & Politics in the 2008 - 2017 editions of its Super Lawyers and has been recognized in the 2014 - 2017 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.
He is licensed to practice in the State of California, the Southern District of California, the Central District of California, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.