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About me

E. Thomas Dunn, Jr. is an appellate practitioner based in Tustin, California, handling both state and federal appeals, writs, and law and motion matters throughout Southern California.  Mr. Dunn has a quarter century of experience handling trial and appellate work.  Since January 1995, Mr. Dunn has been certified as a specialist in Criminal Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, and he has been certified a specialist in Appellate Law since December 2003.  In addition to his own practice, he has served in an Of Counsel capacity to a number of local law firms, including McMillion and Hirtensteiner LLP and the LibertyBell Law Group in Burbank, California.  He has also given his time to act as an Appointed Settlement Officer for the California Court of Appeal, Second District, in Los Angeles.


In June 2001, after nearly two decades of public service, Mr. Dunn joined the firm of Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez LLP in Los Angeles, where he successfully handled complex civil rights cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts for two years, appearing opposite attorneys Steven Yagman and Johnny Cochran on a regular basis.  Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Dunn was a Senior Judicial Attorney for the California Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, in Santa Ana, where he served as Lead Appellate Counsel in the Chambers of Justice William W. Bedsworth for almost four years.  Prior to joining Justice Bedsworth’s staff, Mr. Dunn was a Senior Deputy District Attorney for the County of Orange, where he prosecuted criminal cases for more than 12 years, and also served for two years as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of California, representing the district attorneys of all 58 California counties in the federal United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, handling complex civil and constitutional litigation.


During his years as a state and county prosecutor, Mr. Dunn accumulated an exemplary trial record, achieving a 100% conviction rate in all his felony trials.  Mr. Dunn was also recognized for his special skills as an appellate lawyer, having begun his legal career by winning his first case—Hicks v. Feiock (1988) 485 U.S. 624—in the United States Supreme Court.   Mr. Dunn has numerous published opinions to his credit, including In re Feiock (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 141, which changed the law in California to make it easier for single parents to collect child support, and the landmark decision of the California Supreme Court in Tobe v. City of Santa Ana (1995) 9 Cal.4th 1069, where the Court upheld the city’s anti-camping ordinance against multiple constitutional attacks.  Most recently, Mr. Dunn won a reversal of his client’s conviction for misappropriation of public funds in People v. Aldana (2009) 94 Cal.Rptr.3d 831, and he has dozens of other published opinions to his credit.


In 1991, Mr. Dunn became an Associate Professor at Orange County University School of Law and subsequently served for several years as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Whittier Law School and Trinity Law School in Santa Ana.  Since 1992, he has been an Adjunct Professor at Western State University College of Law, where he continues to teach advanced courses in criminal law and evidence.  Mr. Dunn was named Attorney of the Year by the Constitutional Rights Foundation of Orange County in 1988, and his written legal works have been published at both the state and national level.  He is an author of several chapters in California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice, published annually by Continuing Education of the Bar, and has been listed in Who’s Who in American Law since 1998.  He recently completed working on his part of a new treatise on Scientific Evidence, published in October 2008 by Continuing Education of the Bar in Berkeley, California:  Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases.


In addition to his work as a lawyer, Mr. Dunn is an outstanding musician, has served as a member of the House of Representatives Rules Committee staff in Washington, D.C., and spent three years as Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of Downey Savings and Loan Association in Rolling Hills Estates, California.


Languages spoken: English, Spanish

Photos and videos

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Practice areas


  1. Appeals: 70%
    34 years
  2. Criminal Defense: 28%
    31 years
  3. Ethics: 2%
    34 years



Hourly ($500/hour), Retainer (always)

Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

14 total 

Are you an attorney? Endorse this lawyer

  • Stephen Downes

    Mr. Dunn is one of the finest attorneys I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He is a legal scholar that knows and understands the nuances of the law. He is an accomplished trial and appellate lawyer. In my opinion, he is one of the best, if not the best appellate attorney in the state. He literally wrote the book on it. His clients are privileged to have him fighting for them.


    Stephen Downes Criminal defense Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse Edward. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Law Offices of E. Thomas Dunn, Jr.

1432 Edinger Avenue, Suite 240
Tustin, CA, 92780


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Attorney of the YearConstitutional Rights Foundation of Orange CountyN/A
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
AttorneyLaw Office of E. Thomas Dunn, Jr.2003 - Present
Law ProfessorWestern State University College of Law1992 - Present
AttorneyManning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez LLP2001 - 2003
Senior Judicial Attorney, Lead Appellate CounselCalifornia Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Div. Three1997 - 2001
Senior Deputy District AttorneyOrange County District Attorney's Office1985 - 1997
Association namePosition nameDuration
State Bar of CaliforniaMember1985 - Present
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
Hicks v. Feiock (1988) 485 U.S. 624; on remand, In re Feiock (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 141Won judgment permitting parent to enforce child support awards with contempt remedy.
People v. Aldana (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 1247 [142 Cal.Rptr.3d 691]Convictions for misappropriation of public funds reversed for insufficient evidence
Tobe v. City of Santa Ana (1995) 9 Cal.4th 1069Reversed decision of Court of Appeal
See all legal cases 
Publication nameTitleDate
Scientific Evidence in California Criminal Cases, (Continuing Education of the Bar, co-author)Chapter 2: “Novel Scientific Techniques Subject to the Kelly Rule”2012
California Criminal Law: Procedure and Practice, 2d ed. through current ed. (Continuing Education of the Bar, co-author)Chapters 1 (“Client Interview”), 10 (“Criminal Law Practice Management”), and 31 (“Selected Trial Motions”)2012
20 Western State University Law Review, No. 1 (Fall 1992); revised and republished in three installments in Prosecutor’s Brief: The California District Attorneys Association’s Quarterly Journal, Vol. XV, No. 4, Vol. XVI, Nos. 1 and 2 (1993, 1994).“It’s Time To Flip Wilson: The Consensual Encounter as a Law Enforcement Investigative Tool vs. The ‘Right to Be Left Alone’”1992
Law in Brief, Child Support Report, Vol. X, No 4, United States Department of Health and Human Services, National Child Support Enforcement Reference Center“Supreme Court Rules Burden of Proof May Be Placed On Delinquent Parents in Civil Contempt Cases”1988
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Southwestern University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1984
University of California - IrvineHistoryN/A1980
Biola UniversityHistory Honors ProgramBA - Bachelor of Arts1977
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Regular SpeakerJustice for America in the New Century2012