Kerry L. Armstrong, Attorney
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Kerry L. 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. Mr. Armstrong's law firm currently employs an associate attorney, a certified law clerk, and a paralegal. The firm represents those accused of every type of crime imaginable, as well as handling civil restraining order cases and forfeiture cases.
Mr. Armstrong has handled hundreds of felony and misdemeanor cases all over California, in both state courts and federal courts. He also has conducted nearly fifty jury trials, as well as over thirty-five juvenile court 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). 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. Criminal defense attorneys in San Diego often consult with Mr. Armstrong regarding their clients who face sex charges.
Mr. Armstrong has had the opportunity to handle many high-profile cases in San Diego County since he became a licensed attorney in 1998. His cases have consistently been featured in the San Diego Union-Tribune, on all of the local TV news stations, on CNN, MSNBC, Court TV, NBC Nightly News, Nancy Grace, and most major U.S. newspapers. Some of the high-profile cases Mr. Armstrong has handled include representing a man accused of a violent hate-crime attack on a migrant farm worker, a thirteen-year-old minor accused of conspiring with two other middle-school boys to kill their teacher, a man accused of sending fake anthrax to the San Diego federal courthouse, a YMCA daycare provider accused of molesting four young students, a Navy man accused of distributing child pornography from a Navy ship, and a man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and his ten-month-old baby in order to get out of paying child support. (Please click the View Other Videos button on the home page to see video of some of these cases. Or to read about some of these cases, click the See Our Articles button on the home page.)
In 2003, Mr. Armstrong was featured on the hour-long season premiere of Law & Order: Crime & Punishment (an episode that was watched by 10 million viewers). The reality show featured Mr. Armstrong in a murder and attempted murder trial that he conducted in 2002.
Mr. Armstrong appears on local TV news stations from time to time as a legal analyst. Additionally, he has lectured several times at Thomas Jefferson School of Law on the subjects of legal writing and ethics.
Mr. Armstrong attended Middle Tennessee State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science in 1990. He received his law degree in 1997 from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. While a student there, he received numerous scholastic awards and honors, including achieving the top grade in the class in Legal Writing II and Criminal Law. He also graduated cum laude (in the top 9% of his class). He was on his school's law review for three years, including holding the positions of senior editor and then executive editor. Mr. Armstrong went on to pass the California Bar on his first attempt in 1998.
Mr. Armstrong is a member of the State Bar of California, as well as the Federal Bars for the Southern and Central Districts of California.
One of only a handful of criminal defense attorneys in San Diego who have received all not-guilty verdicts for his client in a first-degree murder trial (in 2005), Mr. Armstrong's client in that case was acquitted of all charges in the case that began as a capital case.
Well-regarded and respected as one of the premiere criminal defense attorneys in San Diego County, Mr. Armstrong strives to put 100% effort into every case, whether it be a simple DUI or a complex capital murder case.
A few of Mr. Armstrong's recent case highlights include:
- In September 2005, Mr. Armstrong received all not-guilty verdicts for a client who was accused of shooting a man to death in the back with a shotgun during a robbery. The case began as a capital case, and the client was facing life in prison without the possibility of parole had he been convicted. The client still lives in San Diego and remains in contact with Mr. Armstrong from time to time.
- In May 2006, a client of Mr. Armstrong's was acquitted of all counts involving allegations that the client raped a federal prison inmate in a correctional facility. Those not-guilty verdicts followed what Mr. Armstrong considers to be the best closing argument by a deputy district attorney that he has ever witnessed.
- In 2006, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of torturing his wife in an all-day beating. The deputy district attorney assigned to the case described the case as the worst beating she had ever seen where the victim lived. Following a jury trial, the client was convicted of domestic violence but acquitted of torture, therefore saving him from life in prison.
- In June 2006, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of gang rape, kidnapping, forcible oral copulation, sodomy, burglary, robbery, and sexual battery (23 counts in all). Following a four-week trial, the client was acquitted of all charges and released from custody (where he had been held for over eight months awaiting trial). Following the verdict, jury members cried and hugged the client in the hallway.
- In July 2007, Mr. Armstrong won 32 of 34 counts of a high-profile child molest trial in which three young students accused his client of touching them inappropriately, kissing them, and showing them pornographic movies. The verdicts were all not-guilty regarding two of the alleged victims. The client was therefore saved from a life sentence in prison.
- In September 2007, Mr. Armstrong's client went to trial on several charges of child molestation. The client was accused of molesting his niece when she was a young girl. After hearing all of the evidence, the jury hung 8-4 in favor of acquittal. Just before the retrial, Mr. Armstrong worked out a plea-bargain where his client pled guilty to a misdemeanor with no time in custody. Additionally, the client was not required to register as a sex offender.
- In November 2007, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of shooting a drunk man in the back three times. Although the San Diego County District Attorney's Office filed first-degree murder charges against the client, Mr. Armstrong was able to get all charges dropped before the preliminary hearing. (This dismissal was one of only a handful of such pre-preliminary hearing murder case dismissals in San Diego County history).
- In the fall of 2008, Mr. Armstrong successfully defended two police officers in separate domestic violence cases. In the first case, an Oceanside Police Department lieutenant was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend by dragging her and hitting her. In the other, a female San Diego Police Department officer was accused of putting her semiautomatic handgun into the mouth of her husband during a domestic argument. Although the officers were arrested in both cases, no charges were formally filed by the District Attorney's Office in either incident after Mr. Armstrong became involved in the cases.
- In November 2008, Mr. Armstrong's client pled guilty to possessing numerous child pornography images and videos (a felony). At the sentencing hearing, Mr. Armstrong was able to convince the judge to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor and not impose any custody. This is believed to be the first time a San Diego County judge has done this since the law changed in 2006 making the crime a felony.
- In January 2009, a client of Mr. Armstrong's went to trial on charges that he molested three different neighbor children. The jury hung on most of the counts, returning not-guilty verdicts on only two counts. The client then reached a plea-bargain on the hung counts and was spared from receiving a life sentence.
- In March 2009, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of beating his girlfriend so severely that deep bruises covered over 85% of her body. Her nose was broken as well. (The police arrested the client on torture charges.) Following a jury trial, the client, a local college professor, was acquitted of all charges. He went back to teaching, where he is still employed today.
A few of Mr. Armstrong's past case highlights include:
- In his first domestic violence trial (in 1999), Mr. Armstrong received not-guilty verdicts for a female client who was accused of punching her ex-husband and slapping his new girlfriend so hard that one earring was torn out of the new girlfriend's ear. Even though the client's own children testified that their mother had committed the assaults, the jury voted not-guilty on all charges.
- In another domestic violence trial in 2000, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of slapping and pushing his wife, as well as secretly recording her phone conversations. The jury voted not-guilty on both charges after the wife was caught by Mr. Armstrong lying on the stand about her secret boyfriend.
- In 2002, Mr. Armstrong went to trial on a case in El Cajon where his client (who was labeled by the prosecution as a white supremacist) was accused of attempting to kill a migrant farm worker by kicking him, punching him, and curbing him (placing the victim's mouth on a curb and then stomping on the back of his head). The client was acquitted of most of the charges, including acquittals on premeditated attempted murder, torture, robbery, and the hate-crime allegation.
- In 2003, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of raping an intoxicated female at her apartment. The client was acquitted of all charges even though a neighbor testified that he saw the female vomiting and nearly comatose as she was being carried up the stairs over the client's shoulder.
- In 2004, a client of Mr. Armstrong's was accused of raping his ex-girlfriend while placing a knife against her throat. The client was acquitted of many of the charges, including the knife allegations (thereby saving the client from a life sentence).
- In 2000, Mr. Armstrong's client was facing 25-years-to-life on a Three Strike's case. Mr. Armstrong was able to convince the judge to reduce the new felony case to a misdemeanor, thereby saving the client from a life sentence.
- In 2002, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of forcibly raping his wife. (The couple had just separated.) Just before trial, Mr. Armstrong was able to subpoena surveillance video from a movie store where the client and his wife were seen walking hand-in-hand from the store on the night in question. After handing the video over to the District Attorney's Office, the case was dismissed three days later on what would have been the first day of trial.
- In 2001, Mr. Armstrong's client was accused of beating a man with The Club (a car steering wheel locking device) following an argument over the victim's poor driving skills. The case was reduced to a misdemeanor, and the client received no time in custody.
- In 2000, Mr. Armstrong's client was charged with possessing 2,000 pounds of marijuana in a van (in what is believed to be the largest marijuana seizure that year that did not take place at the international border). Mr. Armstrong was able to convince the judge to sentence the client to local custody instead of prison.
Please note that every case is different, and the above lists are not meant to guarantee a similar result if you are charged with the same offense.
Attorney Kerry L. Armstrong is a criminal defense attorney helping the people of San Diego County and all of California. Contact Mr. Armstrong in regard to any of the following:
Mr. Armstrong handles cases throughout all of San Diego County and Southern California, including all of the following areas: South Bay and cities including Chula Vista, East Lake, National City, Mission Valley, El Cajon, La Mesa, Julian, Ramona, Vista, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Bernardo, Escondido, Mira Mar, Oceanside, Encinitas, Carlsbad, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Carmel Valley, La Jolla, Cardiff, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma, Little Italy, Downtown San Diego, Hillcrest, North Park, Bonita, Tierrasanta, Scripps Ranch, Alpine, Jamul, Descanso, Poway, Eastlake, San Ysidro, Linda Vista, Clairemont, and throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Imperial County, San Diego County and Riverside County.
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1501 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101
1501 5th Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101