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Scott Wayne Johnson

Criminal defense Attorney at Richland, WA

4.4   27 reviews

also known as Scott Johnson, Scott W. Johnson

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About Scott

Learn Scott’s areas of practice.

Born and raised in Spokane, Scott is a true Eastern Washingtonian. Scott attended high school at Gonzaga Prep where he was a student body officer and national debate champion. After graduating Gonzaga Prep in 1990, Scott attended Pacific Lutheran University, graduating in 1994 with a double major in history and political science. From Pacific Lutheran, Scott moved east, and attended the University of Baltimore School of Law, in Baltimore, Maryland. At the University of Baltimore, Scott was one of an 8-member mock trial that advanced to the national finals in 1996 and 1997. Scott graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1997.

During law school, Scott had the privilege to work as an intern for Federal Judge Marvin Garbis, of United States District Court for the District of Maryland, as a legal intern for the Maryland law firm Reese and Carney, and as a legal intern for the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office in Kennewick.

After graduating from the University of Baltimore, Scott was happy to return home to Eastern Washington, and honored to accept a position as a deputy prosecutor with the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office in 1997. Scott worked in District Court, Juvenile Court, where he was promoted to Chief Juvenile Court Deputy, and Superior Court, where he was further promoted to Chief Deputy of the criminal division. Scott prosecuted criminal cases ranging from DUI, to livestock rustling, to complex white collar theft, kidnapping, rape, and murder. Scott has argued extensively in Division III of the Washington State Court of Appeals and has argued before the Washington State Supreme Court. After over 12 years of public service at the Benton County Prosecutor’s Office, Scott left the office in 2009 to go into private practice.

In 2009, Scott joined Sal Mendoza Jr. and Shawn Sant at the Mendoza Law Office. After Shawn was elected Franklin County Prosecutor, Scott became partners with Sal Mendoza and the two formed Mendoza & Johnson in 2011. Sal then became a Benton County Superior Court Judge and later a United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington. Scott then became law partners with Mia Mendoza. Scott handled all levels of criminal cases and select civil litigation at Mendoza and Johnson.

In October of 2015, Scott was presented with an opportunity to start his own firm. Seeing a need in the Eastern Washington legal community for highly skilled attorney services with rapid crisis response, and without layers of bureaucracy separating the client and lawyer, Scott formed the law firm of Johnson and Orr, with partner Deric Orr. Scott and Deric have been able to implement their philosophy of offering client’s rapid crisis response from highly skilled attorneys that client’s actually have access to.

Scott has tried over 200 jury trials and countless bench trials. Scott's cases have been featured by local, regonal, national, and international press outlets.  Scott has had significant success in having clients found not guilty in extremely serious cases. Scott has also been able to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars in awards and settlements for his civil clients.

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Licensed for 24 years
State WA
Status Active
Acquired 1998
Updated 03/19/2023

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Scott

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Johnson & Orr
1038 Jadwin
Richland, WA, 99352


4.4 / 5.0
  27 customer reviews
Posted by anonymous | June 14, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The Closest Thing To A Hero.
Scott Johnson and his partner Deric Orr have gone above and beyond. My case started in March 2015. It is now June 2021. Everything is finally over. Every step of the way, one factor or another slowed my case down.. Although the efforts that these two beautiful men put forth showed their worth time, and time again. I went from facing 8+ years in prison for a crime that happened before 2008, to being sentenced with 15 days Jail and 15 days Work Crew. I don't know the full details of all the effort they put in, although the only bad news I was ever given was that something happened to slow the case down.. Whether it be a vengeful prosecutor, or someone else's screw up. Every step was arduous and stressful, I've been a ball of anxiety... But these two never gave up. I paid an initial sum of $6,000-$8,000 (forgot the amount).. And not a single time was a requested or required to pay more. I believe the effort put into this extremely arduous case far exceeds the price that was paid. Based on anecdotal evidence, Scott Johnson and Deric Orr are the best Defense team in all of Eastern Washington.
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Posted by Christopher | April 25, 2021
This review is from a potential client who consulted with this attorney.
| Consulted Attorney
Very helpful
Scott was very helpful and attentive to our situation. He was understanding and quick to answer any questions we had. After talking to three other law firms and being turned around and put off he was willing to stand with us.
Posted by anonymous | January 13, 2021
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Definitely recommend
Scott and his team were knowledgeable, caring and ready to help! Communication was great and responses were quick. Definitely the team you want in your side!
Posted by April | July 26, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Life saver
When a family member was facing a long prison sentence, a conviction would forever change all our lives for the worst. We were a broken family during this time and Scott was patient and understanding with us and our emotions. Thanks to Scott's expertise, he was able to present a case for reasonable doubt and win. At our meetings with Scott, he presented the challenges and the weaknesses of the case. He talked strategy and everyone there was encouraged to present their ideas. He used some of the families ideas in the trial. He let us know when our ideas were not good ones and why. He is a strong leader and a team player. Since I was the last witness, I only saw him in court for the closing argument but he was amazing. He highlighted all the flaws in the prosecution's case and all the reasons why their case wasn't logical. He showed the judge, the court and the process respect. He is a real professional. No one ever hopes they need a defence attorney and we hope we never do again but if we do, it will be Scott!
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Posted by anonymous | July 7, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
I had a false claim against me 2 years ago. I immediately contacted Scott Johnson, he helped my roommate and I was clear with what the next steps are and timeline. Scott is a great lawyer!
Posted by anonymous | June 25, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Review for Scott Johnson
Scott was amazing. We knew he was doing everything possible to make this experience as easy as it could be. He never overpromised yet work so hard on our behalf. Thank you Scott for helping our family.
Posted by Chelsey | June 24, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great Attorney: Highly Recommended
I was referred to Scott through a friend who spoke very highly and stated that he would be able to guide me with the answers I needed to help solve my court issue. Scott reassured me immediately that this issue could be easily resolvable. He was very forth coming with information and always kept me updated through out the entire process. I was very fortunate to have received him as a recommendation.
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Posted by anonymous | January 21, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Excellent representation
Scott Johnson is an excellent trial lawyer with an outstanding knowledge of the law. He is prepared and tenacious in the courtroom, but not overbearing. He was professional and realistic; willing to listen to all input and answer questions candidly from his client, my brother, as well as all members of the family who attended the trial; make carefully considered recommendations and then ultimately respect and represent his client's wishes. We had a winning outcome.
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Posted by anonymous | January 7, 2019
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Scott Johnson served us with caring, carefully prepared defense. We always felt he had our best interests at heart and believed in us. In our book, he is the best and we are most grateful for a victorious outcome guided by him.
Posted by Becky | December 14, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wonderful attorney. Really knows his stuff!
Scott Johnson was an amazing, ethical attorney on my brothers trial. He couldn't have asked for a better attorney. He would meet with all the family that was there after each day of testimony and keep us in the loop about how he thought things were going. If I was ever in need of a lawyer in Washington I would definitely use Scott.
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Posted by anonymous | December 12, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Amazing Attorney
Very compitent and down to earth. Gets down to the salient points quickly and effectively. Really did a great job for our family. Cannot thank him enough for all he has done.
Posted by Jim | September 9, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
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Posted by anonymous | April 3, 2018
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Professional & Super Effective
When our son was charged with a serious sex crime, we were unsure of what would happen to him. He took responsibility for his actions as we felt it important that he face some consequences to help him change his behavior. The uncertainty of his future was almost overwhelming but with guidance of Scott and his office, we were able to receive some reassurance that things would work out. We chose to enter a guilty plea because we did not want to put his victim and her family through a trial. While Scott was confused at first, he understood our reasoning for taking this course. He went to work to help mitigate the punishment. It has been a very long 2 years but with Scott's help (as well as others, counselors, clergy, family) our son has successfully completed his treatment and received a dismissal of charges.
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Posted by Steven | November 17, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great lawyer.
Scott was very professional throughout my case. Any questions I had was answered quickly. By phone or email. He left no stone unturned to prove the state had falsely accused me to the jury. His ability in court was amazing to watch. He was very prepared and wasn't afraid to go after the state on their lack of effort and evidence to find the truth before charging me on a serious crime. Thanks to Scott I have my life back on track!
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Posted by anonymous | September 11, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Scott Johnson's communication skills are Top Notch
I have hired Scott Johnson twice to represent my teenage children with traffic violations/misdemeanor charges that the results could have otherwise hobbled my kids' ability to be employable and/or left them unable to drive. Scott is extremely knowledgeable; has significant trial experience ranging from Local/District to Federal court, making him well-rounded and respected in his field of expertise. I found him to be professionally optimistic in anticipating the outcome both times and he was "Spot On" with his expectations. Scott has been there when we have needed him; has been generous with his time even though we know his days are "Fast Paced;" and I'm confident I will utilize his services when needed in the future. Our family highly recommends him.
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Posted by Ryan | September 6, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Outstanding Attorney with integrity
Scott Johnson was very diligent and hardworking throughout my very high profile case that garnered world wide attention via the media. He was always there when I needed him whether it be about my concerns, questions or just needing someone to talk to about the case. I was so pleased with his knowledge about the law and his sincere guidance in my case. Scott's compassion for his clients surpasses anything I have experienced. He was kind, caring, always kept me informed and gave me the advice that I needed to fit my situation. Scott will not make promises he can't keep and will always be upfront and honest with his clients. I have already referred family and friends to Scott and will always be honored to recommend Scott to family and friends in the future.
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Posted by anonymous | May 23, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Brilliant, Ethical, and Courteous.
I was being accused of Financial Exploitation. After meeting with Scott, he was the right attorney for me. He is Brilliant, Ethical, and Courteous. I have never been in trouble in my life, and being accused of this, was the most stressful thing I had to deal with. Scott listened to my concerns, and worked quickly to get my case resolved. He would always return my calls, and emails, so promptly, which was very much appreciated. I'm so greatful to have found such a fine attorney such as him.
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Posted by anonymous | February 9, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Straight Forward and Compassionate
I thought my world was crashing down. I was recently diagnosed with a mental health issue and was looking at being charged with a felony. It was scary and I felt out of my realm. The minute I sat down with Scott I poured out everything to him and he told me I would no longer have to worry about speaking to anyone as he would be speaking for me. I didn't need someone to hug me I needed someone who could be direct and honest with me giving me real life scenarios as to what to expect. I needed someone to stand up for me and remind people that I am a human being who happened to be placed in a situation that was not normal for me. I needed someone to speak for me because I could not speak for myself. Scott did this. His sincerity and understanding allowed me to keep me head up in a time I wasn't sure if I could. He always got back to me when I had a question and had my best interest at heart. Working with the criminal justice system for the first time is scary, especially when you are in the paper and being slandered by people in the community. Scott helped me to focus on what was important, listened to what I wanted and pushed for the best resolution we could get. My perspective on criminal attorneys and the justice system has changed. I am truly thankful for Scott, he gave me some hope when I needed it.
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Posted by Cyndi | February 7, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Hired Scott on a Wednesday to get a vehicle back from state custody after 5 months of them holding it for investigation and he got us our truck back 5 days later on that next Monday! I'm truly amazed at how quickly he expedited this process for us. We could get absolutely nowhere with the state on this.
Posted by anonymous | October 26, 2015
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Great experience
Scott was a perfect lawyer for this misdemeanor case. He immediately responded to any of my emails and made this case as efficient as possible for me. He made sure I got in and out of court as fast as possible and completely fought for my case. He actually cared about the outcome of my case and what would be best for me. I would highly suggest this lawyer.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 8.6 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Managing Partner
  • Johnson & Orr
  • 2015 - Present
  • Partner
  • Mendoza and Johnson
  • 2009 - 2015
  • Chief Deputy, Criminal Divison
  • Benton County Prosecutor's Office
  • 1997 - 2009
  • Federal Legal Intern
  • Hon. Marvin Garbis, U.S. District Court
  • 1996 - 1996
  • Law Clerk
  • Reese & Carney, LLC
  • 1995 - 1997
View all work experience


  • University of Baltimore
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • 1997
  • Pacific Lutheran University
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • 1994

Legal Cases

  • United State v. S.B.
  • Not Guilty
  • State v. D.J.
  • Not Guilty
  • State v. C.F.
  • Not Guilty
View all legal cases


  • Washington Defender Association
  • 2017 - Present
  • Benton Franklin County Bar Association
  • 1998 - Present
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • 1998 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English

Honors and Awards

  • Notable-Peer Rated for High Ethical Standards
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2017
  • Mock Trial Coach of the Year
  • YMCA Youth and Government
  • 1999

Speaking Engagements

  • Trial Advocacy Clinic
  • Cross Examining Recanting Witnesses
  • 2017
  • Benton-Franklin County Legal Aid CLE
  • Successful Voire Dire
  • 2014
  • Trial Advocacy Clinic
  • Trial Advocacy
  • 2013
  • Spring CLE
  • Motions Practice In District Court
  • 2010
  • Spring Training
  • Jury Selection
  • 2009
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (9)
Given (8)
Endorse Scott
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 07
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Scott is a preeminent criminal defense attorney in Central Washington. As a former prosecutor and former public defense attorney, he has a wealth of experience in criminal law. He is a zealous advocate for his clients and is not afraid to go to trial. I have and will continue to refer people in need of legal help to him."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 23
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Scott Johnson is one of the best trial attorneys I have ever seen. I have gone up against him more than once when he was a prosecutor, getting to see first hand his mastery of the courtroom. I know him to be hard working and committed to his clients. He is well liked and well respected in the community, which is invaluable to anyone who has him for their attorney. I give him my highest endorsement."
Criminal defense Attorney | May 09
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"After watching Scott work the courtrooms of our community for over 20 years, I endorse him without reservation. He is a highly skilled criminal litigator with a long and proven record of achieving favorable results for his clients in serious criminal cases."
Criminal defense Attorney | Feb 10
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. He is tenacious in ensuring that your rights are protected in every step of the process."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 20
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Scott provides aggressive defense for his clients. I frequently refer individuals charged with particularly serious crimes to his office because I know he will zealously represent them."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 19
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Scott Johnson is one of the best attorneys I know. He cares about his clients and is an excellent advocate for those he represents. Scott Johnson takes more cases to trial than anyone else I know with positive results. I endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"Scott's presence in the court room is second to none. I have seen him try cases ranging from Driving With a Suspended License to Murder and have always walked away impressed. He is on the short list of people I would call if I ever needed an attorney. I absolutely endorse this lawyer."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 18
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I have know Scott for 10 years and have practiced with him on both sides of the aisle. Scott is a strong advocate for his client and help them navigate through very difficult situations. He is a top trial attorney and is respected by his peers."
Criminal defense Attorney | Jan 17
Relationship: Supervised lawyer
"One of the best lawyers in Washington"
View more endorsements
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