A skilled & thoughtful advocate
John Hanusz is a veteran defense trial lawyer who has more than 20 years of experience representing individuals in complex, high-stakes criminal and related cases. He has successfully represented hundreds of clients in a wide variety of matters, including investigations by government, educational, and religious institutions, and trial and appellate proceedings. John’s holistic and tenacious advocacy has earned him recognition by his peers and the public. He was named as one of California’s top white-collar litigators by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, California’s largest legal publication.
John honed his investigation and litigation skills representing individuals facing the death penalty in the Deep South in habeas corpus proceedings. In his work there, he learned the importance of exhaustive investigation and presentation of a client’s story, whether it related to claims of innocence or the appropriateness of a death sentence. John’s work was instrumental in the granting of numerous habeas corpus petitions and requests for executive clemency.
In his work as an appellate advocate, John had a front-row seat to what happens when the adversarial process breaks down. He saw what happens when the government overreaches, when prosecutors and law enforcement officials pursue a narrative-driven investigation, and when lawyers fail to represent their clients’ interests zealously and holistically. He saw the impact that it had on his clients, their livelihoods, and their families, and he resolved to provide the kind of representation that individuals need and deserve when confronted with a law enforcement investigation.
John further sharpened his skills as a criminal defense trial lawyer during his decade-plus as a Federal Public Defender in Los Angeles, where he handled hundreds of cases – ranging from misdemeanors to capital murder – and tried numerous cases to verdict. His focused, aggressive, and holistic advocacy resulted in countless favorable resolutions, including non-prosecution agreements, dismissals, acquittals, successful appeals, and positive sentencing results.
In any case there are myriad decision points, all containing risk and reward. Careful consideration of a client’s needs typically provides the path to how a case can – and should – proceed. But the path can only be illuminated with the advice of experienced counsel who is well versed in the facts of the case and the client’s background. John’s deep, wide-ranging experience, background in investigation, and mastery of the law allow him to understand and fully explore the facts and circumstances of the matter, identify and exploit weaknesses in the government’s case, and forcefully advocate for his clients. The results that John has obtained on behalf of his clients – whether they be declinations of prosecutions, trial victories, or successful sentencing results – speak for themselves. Although much can – and should – be said about results, is it just as important that John’s clients know that he will take the time to learn – and tell – their stories in a way that will account for their needs.
Since entering private practice in 2017, John has defended individuals accused of tax, wire, and mail fraud; providers in health care fraud prosecutions; professors and students in university misconduct investigations; and those accused of export violations, conspiracy, money laundering, and violating environmental statutes and regulations. In addition, as a member of the Criminal Justice Act panel, he regularly represents indigent individuals facing criminal prosecution.
John previously worked as a legal journalist in Los Angeles and a book editor in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is an avid night photographer and a proud father of two daughters.
Active in his community, John sits on the board of directors of the Valenzuela Foundation (www.valenzuelafoundation.org), which provides grants to organizations serving underserved communities in San Bernardino County and Riverside County.
Admitted to practice in California and Georgia, John has appeared in trial and appellate courts and administrative tribunals nationwide. He has been awarded an AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell. John’s work has been recognized by numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Daily Journal and Southern California SuperLawyers.
- J.D., Ohio State University College of Law
- B.A., Ohio University