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Dean E. Johnson



Redwood, CA





Dean Johnson is a trial lawyer who focuses on criminal defense. His practice is devoted to providing aggressive, effective state-of-the-art representation to people who are facing the extraordinary stresses that accompany criminal litigation. Mr. Johnson has represented people from all walks of life throughout Northern California in both State and Federal court. His clients have included corporate CEO's, celebrities, athletes, judges and their families, law enforcement officers and their families, federal agents and venture capitalists.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE: The following is a representative sample of some of Mr. Johnson's recent cases.

  • CASE DISMISSED: Mr. Johnson obtained a dismissal in federal court for a client whose home was the target of a drug raid by Federal and State officers. Of nearly 40 defendants named in the case, Mr. Johnson's client was the only one who obtained a complete dismissal of all charges.
  • CASE DISMISSED: Mr. Johnson was retained to represent a local automobile dealer who was charged with felony sexual assault. A customer claimed that Mr. Johnson's client had attacked her during an after hours meeting in the client's office. The police claimed to have a tape-recorded confession. The DA offered the client six years in prison, to be followed by deportation from the United States. The client, dissatisfied with his first lawyer, retained Mr. Johnson to represent him. Mr. Johnson obtained a dismissal of al charges. The client is still in the United States and is now happily married.
  • NOT GUILTY: Police conducted an early morning raid of a college student's home. The police seized the student's computer and charged him with possession of child pornography. The student retained Mr. Johnson. The case went to trial. Following Mr. Johnson's cross examination of the police's FBI trained computer expert, the judge acquitted the student on the spot.
  • CASE DISMISSED: A former firefighter returned from his vacation in Mexico. Customs agents searched his luggage and found a bag of white powder. When customs agents confronted the firefighter with the white powder. He said "you got me…it's meth." The firefighter retained Mr. Johnson. The case went to trial, and was dismissed mid-trial.
  • CASE DISMISSED: A blue-collar worker with no criminal record, was taking his morning walk. He was stopped by the California Highway Patrol. The CHP officers told him that a woman had accused him of indecent exposure. The "victim" identified the gentleman at the scene. W hired Mr. Johnson. The DA dismissed the case on the day of trial.
  • PRISON SENTENCE REDUCED: Client hired Mr. Johnson after being convicted of solicitation to commit murder. On appeal, Mr. Johnson convinced the Court of Appeal to reduce the client's sentence by two years.
  • CASE DISMISSED: A straight A student and President of his High School Class allegedly threatened a teacher. He was arrested and charged with "Terrorist Threats" in Juvenile Court. Mr. Johnson obtained a dismissal during the student's first court appearance.


Mr. Johnson is one of America's most widely recognized legal analysts. Nicknamed "The Dean of Legal Analysts," Dean has appeared on every broadcast and cable news network. He has been a regular guest on CNN American Morning, on MSNBC and on The Fox News Channel. He has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline and the CBS Evening News. His comments on legal affairs have appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Baltimore Sun Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Jose Mercury News and People Magazine, to name just a few. Dean is currently under exclusive contract for local TV programming to ABC-7 News in San Francisco. As an analyst, he regularly covers high profile legal stories on both a local and national level, including th United States Supreme Court Nomination Process, the Same Sex Marriage litigation, the Barry Bonds Case, the Michael Jackson trial, and the Scott Peterson murder case.


Mr. Johnson is a permanent member of the adjunct faculty of Notre Dame DeNamur University in Belmont, California, where he teaches in the Graduate School of Business and Management. He designed the course "Game Theory, Negotiation and Strategic Decision Making." In the process of designing and teaching the course, Mr. Johnson had done original work on the science of strategy and decision making. He has taught his unique approach to decision making to numerous business executives and public officials, has applied it in his analysis of news stories and uses it daily in developing winning litigation strategies.

Areas Of Practice

  • Criminal Law
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Criminal Law - Federal (White Collar Crime)
  • Drug Violations
  • Federal
  • Felonies
  • Grand Jury Proceedings
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Misdemeanor
  • Parole & Probation
  • RICO Act
  • Sex Offenses
  • Criminal - White Collar

Bar Admissions

  • California, 1983
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of California, 1983
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1983


  • New York University School of Law, New York, New York
    • J.D. - 1980
    • Honors: Root-Tilden Fellow
  • Columbia University, New York, New York
    • M.A. M. Phil. - 1977
    • Honors: University Fellow, National Science Foundation Fellow
    • Major: Political Science
  • Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
    • B.A. - 1972
    • Honors: National Merit Scholar
    • Major: Mathematics and Philosophy

Honors And Awards

  • Selected to Super Lawyers, 2011 - 2015, 2019 - 2021
  • Top Attorney, San Francisco Magazine, 2011 - 2014

Professional Associations And Memberships

  • San Mateo County Bar Association, State Convention Delegate, 2010 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Office of the District Attorney San Mateo County, Deputy District Attorney, 1983 to 1998
  • Arnold & Porter, Associate, 1980 to 1981