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James Mcnair Thompson

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About Me



1975 – 1977              County Counsel’s Office, Santa Clara County.

            Represented school districts in Santa Clara County


1977 – 1984              Public Defender’s Office, Santa Clara County

            Represented indigent criminal defendants, including from 1982 – 1984, practice limited to defendants accused of murder, in both capital and non – capital cases.


1984 – present         Private Practice, specializing in criminal defense in state and federal courts, including private clients and appointments to represent indigent defendants.  Currently accepting appointments in state court, and from the federal District Court and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 


1991 – present         Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, California Board of Legal Specialization


            On three occasions, I have been appointed lead counsel in a federal capital case in the Northern District of California pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §3005, which requires the court to find that lead counsel is “learned in the law applicable to capital cases.”  I have also been found “death qualified” as lead counsel in a number of state capital cases.


            In the trial courts, I have represented persons accused of a variety of offenses, ranging from petty theft to capital homicide, including RICO cases, state and federal “gang cases,” including but not limited to MS – 13 and Nuestra Familia prosecutions, “hacktivism” prosecutions, copyright infringement, violation of hazardous shipping regulations and manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs.


            Although I have represented approximately 25 people facing murder with special circumstances, none have been sentenced to death.


Practice Areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 100%

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Contact Info

PO Box 636
Los Gatos, CA, 95031



Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo Contributions
Legal Answers
School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of WashingtonN/AN/AN/A
Santa Clara University School of LawN/AN/AN/A