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Guyton Jinkerson

Trial Lawyer

Guyton Jinkerson has broad experience in defending the rights of individuals and entities accused of wrongdoing for more than fifty years. He is respected and well regarded by the judges before whom he has appeared but he also has the begrudging respect of prosecutors who have opposed him. He has appeared in complex and high-profile cases throughout California. His clients have included corporate officers, lawyers, physicians, nurses, mortgage brokers, and entrepreneurs.

Work & Trial Experience: 

Guyton Jinkerson joined the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office in 1970 and had a meteoric assent in the three and one half years that he remained in the office. Initially he tried more than thirty juvenile jurisdictional hearings. Thereafter, he tried a similar number of misdemeanor cases including First Amendment demonstration cases related to the war in Vietnam, the Cambodian incursion, and then President Nixon’s visit to San Jose in 1970. In his last two years in the public defenders’s Office, he tried a number of felony cases with impressive results including acquittals in a homicide case and a murder case that involved the killing of a father and a son. He also handled all the pretrial motions in the second criminal trade secrets case filed in California which was dubbed “The IBM Trade Secret Case.”

In 1974, he left the Public Defender’s Office and went to Los Angeles to try the Equity Funding Case in federal court which was the largest securities fraud case of the time. Returning to San Jose in 1975, he was appointed to a task force to assist in the implementation of the newly enacted Agricultural Labor Relations Act. The focus of the task force was to insure that seasonal migrant workers’ labor grievances were swiftly and fully addressed.

For the balance of the 1970s and into the early 1990s, he handled a number of murder cases, avoiding the death penalty in two and gaining acquittals or dismissals in many other cases.

He represented the defendant who organized a conspiracy that resulted in the death of an acquaintance’s husband. Three codefendants were convicted of first degree murder but his client was acquitted., In a case where his client furnished amphetamines to a woman who died shortly after ingesting the substance, he was successful in having all charges dismissed, Likewise, where his client was the aider and abettor in the murder, the charges were dismissed.

Of particular note, the following cases stand out. In 1977, a father was shot an his son killed in a trailer at the California Cheese Company in San Jose. Since it was alleged to be a Mafia hit, the widespread publicity case the case to be moved to Los Angeles County. Three of the defendants were initially tried in a proceeding that lasted eighteen months and Guyton Jinkerson’s client was the only one acquitted.

In 1981, he represented an individual who was alleged to have hired two men to kill his wife. The two men who killed her were convicted of first degree murder. One of those individuals was sentenced to death. However, the charges against his client were dismissed.

In 1987, he was successful at having a writ of habeas corpus granted where a defendant had been convicted of murder in a trial where the defendant’s prior lawyer reduced the trial to a sham and a farce. In the retrial, the defendant was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and gained his freedom.

In 1988, he represented an individual under investigation for shooting and killing two unarmed men. No charges were filed.

In 1990, he represented an individual who had aided and abetted his stepson in murdering the stepson’s bride for financial gain. In a separate trial, the stepson was convicted and received the death penalty. Guyton Jinkerson’s client was acquitted in a separate trial.

In 1995, he took over a case where a woman had pleaded guilty to child abuse and agreed to a sentence of five years in prison. She was married and had two small children. He conducted an extensive motion to withdraw the pleas which was successful. Thereafter, the case was tried and she was acquitted.

In 2007 and for several years thereafter, he represented an individual who was the suspect in a murder that occurred at a dance club.  Although the case was aggressively investigated by law enforcement, no charges were filed. 

Between 2012 and 2017, he represented a doctor who was suspected of operating a "Pill Mill." In early 2012, the doctor prescribed for a patient, whom she had not seen for four months, a large quantity of OxyContin. The patient consumed the pills by crushing them, placing the powdered pills on aluminum foil, heating the powder, and inhaling the fumes. Within two weeks the patient was dead from an overdose. The doctor was charged with homicide for the death of the patient and various other narcotics charges for prescriptions given to other patients. In 2017, after extensive investigation and preparation, the doctor was placed on probation for involuntary manslaughter.

Between 2018 and 2021, he represented an individual charged with gross vehicular homicide where he struck and killed a CHP motorcycle officer and the individual who he was citing for a motor vehicle violation. Within days of the deaths, charges were filed on the allegation that the driver was on his mobile phone texting. After substantial investigation, the case was resolved for misdemeanor manslaughter and a probationary sentence.

He has been recognized by the California Supreme Court as having: “ . . . extensive experience in homicide trials . . . ” People v. Ledesma (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 177, 203.

He has successfully handled a wide range of cases over the years, including those of a sexual nature (both criminal and civil), drug cases (including the suppression of a large greenhouse full of marijuana plants), trade secret theft, environmental crimes, securities fraud, insider trading, unlawful computer access, health care fraud, and alleged over prescription of controlled substances.

He has been found to be qualified as an expert witness in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County on the obligations of defense counsel in criminal cases. He has also qualified as an expert witness on the obligations of defense counsel in a capital case before a Special Master appointed by the California Supreme Court. People v. Ledesma (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 177.


He is admitted to practice before all Courts of the State of California(admitted January 15, 1970), the United States Supreme Court (admitted March 19, 1973), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, the United States District Court for the Central District of California, United States District Court for the Eastern District of California and other Courts.

In 1976, he was first certified as a Criminal Law Specialist by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization and he has been re-certified in 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011, 2016, and 2021.

He has been a member of the faculty of the following programs:

  • Santa Clara County Bar Association Trial Advocacy College, 1977-1978
  • California Public Defenders Association Summer Skills Institute, 1979-1981
  • Criminal Justice College of Advocacy, Hastings College of the Law, 1983-1999
  • Civil Litigation Advocacy Program, Hastings College of the Law, 1984-1992
  • California Trial Lawyers Association, Annual Seminar, 1987
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Federal Practice Program, 1987-1992
  • Intensive Advocacy Program, University of San Francisco School of Law, 1992-1993
  • Santa Clara University School of Law Civil Trial Skills Program, 1993-1994
  • Advocacy Skills Workshop, Stanford Law School, 1998-2021

He belongs to numerous legal associations, including the following:

  • Bar Association of San Francisco
  • Santa Clara County Bar Association
  • San Mateo County Bar Association
  • American Bar Association (Member, White Collar Crime Committee, Criminal Justice Section, 1987 to present; Complex Crimes Committee, Litigation Section, 1991 to present)
  • The Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • California Trial Lawyers Association
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (Member, Board of Governors, 1980-1983, Vice President, 1983-1984)
  • Santa Clara County Trial Lawyers Association
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (Life Member)
  • Fellow, American Board of Criminal Lawyers, Member, Board of Governors, 1985, Secretary, 1986; Vice President, 1987-1988

Awards and Recognitions: 

  • Rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell for forty years.
  • The Best Lawyers in America in the category of Criminal Law since 1987 and in the category of White Color Crimes since the category was created.
  • In 2013, he was selected as Best Lawyers' 2013 San Jose Criminal Defense: White-Collar "Lawyer of the Year".
  • Super Lawyers as a leading White Collar Criminal lawyer between 2005 and 2017. Since 2007,
  • National Trial Lawyers Association as one of the Top Trial 100 trial lawyers in California.

Additional Expertise: 

He has been found to be qualified as an expert witness in the Superior Court of Santa Clara County on the obligations of defense counsel in criminal cases. He has also qualified as an expert witness on the obligations of defense counsel in a capital case before a Special Master appointed by the California Supreme Court. See People v. Ledesma (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 177. 

He has handled numerous writs and appeals in state and federal courts. He has been the attorney of record in the following published decisions in criminal cases: People v. Alday (1973) 10 Cal.3d 392; Reynaud v. Superior Court (1983) 138 Cal.App.3d 1; Shamburger v. Superior Court (1984) 160 Cal.App.3d 484; and People v. Superior Court (Kirby) (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 102.

He has represented clients from the first inkling of a criminal investigation through trial. Often the early intensive response to an investigation has thwarted a criminal prosecution.

He has represented individuals and entities investigations by an assortment of governmental agencies including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department. His clients have included, doctors, lawyers, nurses, real estate brokers, college and professional athletes, and coaches.

The scope of the representation has included SEC investigations of insider trading, failure to register securities, market manipulation, claims of insurance and Medicare and Medical fraud for overbilling and fabricated or exaggerated loss.

Discrete Representation

His clients include newsworthy individuals who seek to avoid adverse publicity. He has been successful in concluding investigations without attention being drawn to the client.

Practice Areas: 

White Collar Crimes

  • Securities offenses
  • Intellectual property theft
  • Medicare and Medical fraud
  • Bid rigging and kickbacks
  • Securities offenses
  • Insider trading
  • Money laundering
  • Computer crimes
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Identity theft
  • Antitrust violations
  • Embezzlement
  • Tax fraud and evasion
  • Environmental Crimes
  • Regulatory crimes


Click Here to See Proven Trial Results

He represents clients in federal courts and in state courts throughout California, emphasizing the representation of clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, including clients prosecuted in the courts in San Francisco, Redwood City, Palo Alto, and San Jose.

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