Kerry L. Armstrong

Top San Diego Criminal Attorney

 

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks.

> Education and Legal Practice

Mr. Armstrong grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to attending law school, Mr. Armstrong graduated from Middle Tennessee State University in 1990 with his Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. His minors were in criminal justice and English. He went on to earn his law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 1997. While in law school, Mr. Armstrong received numerous scholastic awards and honors. He earned the top grade in his class for Legal Writing II and Criminal Law.

He graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law cum laude (and was in the top 9% of his class). He was also a member of the school’s law review for three years. He held the positions of senior editor and executive editor during this time. Mr. Armstrong passed the California Bar exam on his first attempt in 1998. Today, he is a member of the State Bar of California and the Federal Bars for the Southern and Central Districts of California.

Mr. Armstrong has tried over eighty jury trials and approximately forty-five juvenile bench trials. He has won a multitude of trials, ranging from simple battery to forcible rape to first-degree murder. He has tried eight murder trials to completion, as well as dozens of very serious cases where the maximum term was life in prison. He has also tried a lot of misdemeanor cases. No type of crime is too small or large for him.

Only a few attorneys in San Diego can claim that they have tried cases in federal court, state court (adult cases), juvenile delinquency court, juvenile dependency court, administrative law court, and DMV hearings. However, Mr. Armstrong has tried cases in all of those venues.

Mr. Armstrong is one a very few criminal defense attorneys in the area who has received all not-guilty verdicts for a client in a first-degree murder trial. In this case (which was tried in 2005), his client was acquitted of all charges. It originally began as a capital case, making it all the more impressive. And in 2007, Mr. Armstrong was able to obtain a full dismissal for a man charged with first-degree murder with the use of a semi-automatic firearm. Mr. Armstrong’s client had shot another man in the back during an argument at a San Diego apartment complex.

> Achievements & Accolades

In 2012, Mr. Armstrong conducted nine jury trials, a record for him for one year. Several of these trials lasted three weeks or longer, and seven of the nine were cases where the maximum term was life in prison. After winning full acquittals in five of those trials (including three life trials), and winning a partial acquittal and a partial hang in another, Mr. Armstrong was named 2012’s “Trial Attorney of the Year” by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association. Additionally, The Recorder, a legal magazine in San Francisco, named Mr. Armstrong “Attorney of the Year” for 2012 based on these victories.

In 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

> Experienced Counsel for Misdemeanor & Felony Cases

Mr. Armstrong has handled hundreds of felony and misdemeanor cases all over California, in both state courts and federal courts. He has handled cases all the way from El Centro to Los Angeles to Santa Barbara to Sacramento to Ukiah (and many cities in between). He also has conducted over eighty jury trials. Many of his jury trials have been on cases where the charges carried life in prison. His jury trials have included charges ranging all the way from petty theft to first-degree murder with a special circumstance (which makes one eligible for the death penalty). Ironically, two former jurors on two of Mr. Armstrong’s previous jury trials have retained him to represent them when they later faced charges of their own. Mr. Armstrong has represented numerous law-enforcement officers, members of the clergy, business leaders, and family members of prosecutors and judges.

Mr. Armstrong has tried numerous sex cases as well, including charges of lewd conduct in public, forcible rape, child molestation, prostitution solicitation, rape by intoxication, sexual battery, and possession of child pornography. While he consistently represents persons charged with all types of crimes, a large portion of Mr. Armstrong’s clients are those charged with sex offenses. Defense attorneys in the area often consult with Mr. Armstrong regarding their clients who face sex charges.

Well-regarded as one of the premiere criminal defense attorneys in the county, Mr. Armstrong puts 100% effort into every case, whether it be a simple DUI or capital murder case.

Well-regarded as one of the premiere criminal defense attorneys in the county, Mr. Armstrong puts 100% effort into every case, whether it be a simple DUI or capital murder case.

  • 100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation
  • California, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of California, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Central District of California, 2008

Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California

  • Honors: Numerous Scholastic Awards
  • Law Review: School’s Law Review, Senior Editor
  • Law Review: School’s Law Review, Later Executive Editor

 

Middle Tennessee State University

  • B.S.
  • Major: Political Science
  • Minor: Criminal Justice
  • Minor: English
  • San Diego County Criminal Defense Bar Association, Member
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Member
  • Steigerwalt & Associates, APLC, Senior Associate Attorney, 1998 – 2007

Mr. Armstrong handles cases throughout all of San Diego County and all over California. Contact the firm if you would like to request a free consultation!