Terrance K. McCleerey

Terrance K. McCleerey a top California criminal defense attorney has been practicing law for over 35 years, the past 20 of which have been exclusively devoted to criminal defense law.  In recognition of his record, the Consumer Business Review named Mr. McCleerey “Criminal Defense Attorney of the Year” in 2007 and 2008.

Mr. McCleerey is a former Judge Advocate General Corps for the U.S. Army and regularly lectures on the topic of criminal trial practice at the Monterey College of Law.  He has significant experience appearing before the criminal courts in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties and has worked closely for many years with local judges and prosecutors to achieve the best possible result for each client.


  • Iowa, 1963
  • California, 1970
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, 1970
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, 1964
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 1967


  • J.D., University of Iowa College of Law (with distinction, 1963)
  • B.S., Iowa State University (1960)


  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice
  • California Public Defenders Association
  • Association of the United States Army
  • Monterey County Bar Association


  • Former U.S. Army Judge Advocate General Corps
  • Lecturer, Criminal Trial Practice, Monterey College of Law


From Terrance K. McCleerey

I am an aggressive and experienced trial lawyer.  I have achieved not guilty verdicts in five different first-degree murder charges in jury trials.  In a recent case, my client was charged with first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.  It took almost 10 months, but I finally achieved the goal of having all of those charges dismissed and he was released from custody.  I have achieved successful verdicts in many jury trials over the years.  In my years in practice, I have appeared in court literally thousands of times, and have been successful in many cases because of my experience and my dedication to my client’s interests. I believe I have achieved an excellent reputation as a criminal defense lawyer.  I also believe it is very important to respect your adversaries as well as respect your colleagues.  I believe it’s important to have a good working relationship with court staff and all other individuals that work in the criminal justice system.  I have appeared in state courts all over the State of California and the federal courts, as well as acting defense counsel in numerous military courts-martial trials.


Serving Area A California attorney serving the central coast area with criminal defense services. If you have a Monterey, San Benito or Santa Cruz County criminal defense matter, or questions about a criminal problem, contact us today. We serve Santa Cruz, Salinas, Monterey, Capitola, Soquel, Watsonville, Pebble Beach, Scotts Valley, Marina, Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and Hollister, Santa Cruz County, Santa Clara County, San Benito County, Monterey County and more..