The charge of murder is the most serious of all criminal charges and the only one that can carry the death penalty in California. However, murder cases can be won. When seeking the best possible attorney to defend against a murder charge it is critically important to locate a criminal law specialist. It is equally critical to find an attorney who has handled homicide cases many times before and with a reputation for meticulous preparation and expert presentation.
Long Beach criminal lawyer Matthew G. Kaestner has defended persons charged with murder for over 30 years. Just since 2003, Mr. Kaestner has obtained outright dismissals on 9 murder cases. (Case names and numbers available upon request.) Most recently, in January of 2021, attorney Kaestner used a legal motion to dismiss a murder charge against a man who had buried someone in his yard who had suffered an overdose while a guest. The case received media attention. [Read more.]
In March of 2015, attorney Kaestner obtained an acquittal after two weeks of jury trial on murder and attempted murder charges before a Los Angeles jury. Mr. Kaestner's client was acquitted of all charges and went home a free man. Attorney Kaestner’s cross examination of an informant, the prosecution’s key witness, was pivotal in the result. (People v. Rafael C. Case no. BA417858-04.)
In 2012 and 2014, attorney Kaestner obtained not guilty verdicts at trial for clients charged with murder with those juries finding only the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. (People v. Sirrell M., Case No, BA388607-01; People v. Kyle J., Case No. KA095828.)
In September of 2006, Mr. Kaestner achieved a virtually unheard of result for Juan Herrera who was a defendant on a murder case. Mr. Herrera was convicted of murder by a Long Beach jury in 1999. Mr. Kaestner took Mr. Herrera's case 2 years after Mr. Herrera was convicted by that jury and lost his appeal using other attorneys. Despite the almost hopeless situation, Mr. Kaestner re-opened the case in order to prove Mr. Herrera was innocent.
Mr. Herrera’s original lawyer failed to investigate the case competently. As a result, the evidence of Mr. Herrera’s innocence was not heard by the trial jury. Mr. Kaestner went to the California Court of Appeal after the trial judge twice denied Mr. Kaestner’s request for a new trial. The Court of Appeal forced the trial judge in Long Beach to hold a hearing to review Mr. Kaestner’s evidence that Juan Herrera's trial attorney was incompetent and that Juan was innocent. After serving six long years of a sentence of over 80 years to life, Mr. Herrera's conviction was reversed in December of 2005. Mr. Kaestner then prepared the case for re-trial. The District Attorney finally gave in and Mr. Kaestner won a complete dismissal of the case in September of 2006. Mr. Herrera is now a free man. (People v. Herrera, Long Beach case no. NA040331.)
Mr. Kaestner's work for Mr. Herrera was recently recognized by the National Registry of Exonerations. The National Registry, a joint project of Michigan Law School and the Northwestern University's Center on Wrongful Convictions. Read the Juan Herrera story. [Read More.]
One year prior, in October of 2005, Mr. Kaestner won a not guilty verdict in downtown Los Angeles on a first degree gang murder charge. The case originally charged special circumstances that carried life without the possibility of parole. The prosecution alleged that Mr. Kaestner's client was a gang member and the trigger man. The jury voted not guilty after four short hours of deliberation. The trial had lasted over two weeks. (People v. Treto, Los Angeles case no. BA263515.)
Mr. Kaestner has worked on murder cases since 1984 as a law clerk for a prosecutor's office. Mr. Kaestner successfully defended his first murder case in 1991. He as been defending clients charged with murder on a continual basis ever since 1991.
When faced with the devastating news that a friend or family member has been accused of a murder or homicide, you need the immediate assistance of a criminal law attorney who has a proven record of winning these cases. Call Long Beach Criminal Law Specialist Matthew G. Kaestner directly at (562) 437-0200.