John Lemon

John Lemon

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John Lemon is a seasoned trial and appellate lawyer with over 20 years’ experience handling complex, high-stakes cases in state and federal trial courts and in the federal appellate courts. With roughly 50 cases tried to verdict and at least as many arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Lemon has won favorable verdicts and appellate decisions in the most serious and complex cases, including racketeering, white-collar offenses, and murder.

A board-certified trial specialist since 2005, Mr. Lemon brings his ample experience in both oral and written advocacy to Singleton Schreiber, where he primarily represents our clients in fire and civil-rights cases.

Mr. Lemon is AV rated (the highest peer rating for legal ability and ethical standards) by Martindale Hubbell, was a San Diego Daily Transcript “Top Attorney” for 2009, and has been recognized in San Diego Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America every year since 2008 and 2014, respectively. He holds a B.A. in Letters with Distinction from the University of Oklahoma and a J.D. from Stanford.

Representative Cases

United States v. Murillo, et al. (C.D. Cal. 2008). Client acquitted of all felony charges, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, after a two-month trial in a complex prosecution of an alleged prison gang.

United States v. Heredia, et al. (S.D. Cal. 2009). Pharmacist charged with illegal distribution of prescription drugs over the internet was permitted to plead to a misdemeanor and keep her pharmacy license after a three-month jury trial involving seven codefendants resulted in an across-the-board hung jury on 87 counts of money laundering and violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

United States v. Franco, et al. (S.D. Cal. 2013). Client acquitted of Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering and firearms charges after a two-month racketeering trial involving seven codefendants.

United States v. Maloney, 755 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, reversed client’s drug-trafficking conviction based on prosecutorial misconduct. The argument, which received national attention, can be viewed here.

United States v. Verdugo (C.D. Cal. 2018). In 1986, Client was convicted of the murder of a DEA agent (later the subject of the Netflix drama “Narcos: Mexico”) after an FBI agent testified falsely at trial about hair and fiber evidence that supposedly placed Client at the scene of the crime. Client was released from prison after 31 years as the result of litigation of alleged, decades-long institutional misconduct at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

United States v. Individuals and a Corporation (S.D. Cal. 2018-20). In 2018, client, the CFO of a waste-disposal company, prevailed at an evidentiary hearing where the court found that the company’s unauthorized discharge of wastewater had not harmed the environment. In 2019, the same prosecutors charged the same defendants with violations of the Clean Air Act. In 2020, the government dismissed the Clean Air Act charges after extensive litigation of alleged prosecutorial misconduct.

United States v. an Individual (D. Utah 2020). Client acquitted after a six-week jury trial of all 20 counts alleging theft of trade secrets from Becton Dickinson, a $69 billion, Fortune 500 company.

Published Opinions

United States v. Flores-Montano, 541 U.S. 149 (2004)

United States v. Collazo, 984 F.3d 1308 (9th Cir. 2021) (en banc)

United States v. Lloyd, 807 F.3d 1128 (9th Cir. 2015)

United States v. Maloney, 699 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 2012), vacated by United States v. Maloney, 717 F.3d 1042 (9th Cir. 2013), and overruled by United States v. Maloney, 755 F.3d 1044 (9th Cir. 2014) (en banc)

United States v. Johnson,767 F.3d 815 (9th Cir. 2014)

United States v. Houston, 648 F.3d 806 (9th Cir. 2011)

Garcia-Aguilar v. U.S. Dist. Court for Southern Dist. of California, 525 F.3d 1021 (9th Cir. 2008)

United States v. Kodzis, 255 F. Supp. 2d 1140 (S.D. Cal. 2003)