David Oscar Markus - Markus/Moss, PLLC

David Oscar Markus

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2007

David Oscar Markus is a highly successful criminal defense lawyer who focuses his practice on representing businessmen and professionals. In 2015, he was selected by the National Law Journal as a "Trailblazer" in white collar matters.  In 2010, he was one of eight finalists in the country for best white-collar criminal lawyer in the country by Chambers & Partners, which quoted market sources saying that David is "the whole package," and "a creative, courageous and tenacious courtoom advocate." And he was named to that very prestigious short list of 8 best white-collar criminal defense lawyers again in 2011 (he was the only lawyer listed not from a large firm). The 2012 Chambers said this: "David Markus received strong praise from peers and clients alike, who describe him as 'a legal genius and brilliant strategist with a great demeanor.'"  The 2009 Chambers & Partners said that Markus is a "man who gets consistently great results.”  His award winning firm, Markus/Moss, is known as one of the most creative criminal defense firms in the country.

David is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, he argued in front of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who named him best oralist. After graduating from Harvard, David served as law clerk to the Honorable Edward B. Davis, then-Chief United States District Judge, Southern District of Florida. Following his clerkship, David worked as an associate at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C., and then practiced as an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Miami. David is admitted to practice in the state courts of Florida, and numerous federal courts including the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal Court of Claims, the Federal Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

In addition to the awards and experience listed on this page, David also has co-authored the Fourth Amendment Forum, published in NACDL's The Champion. He is frequently asked to serve on committees for the Southern District of Florida.  David has lectured on different aspects of the criminal trial and appeal, has taught legal writing at the University of Miami School of Law, and has taught Advanced Criminal Procedure and White Collar Law at Florida International University College of Law. He also speaks to other criminal defense lawyers on ethics and zealously representing criminal defendants charged with serious crimes. David has been quoted in publications around the country, including The Miami Herald, The Sun-Sentinel, The Palm Beach Post, the Daily Business Review, USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Law.com, and CNN.com. David also is the author of the popular Southern District of Florida blog.

David is a fierce advocate for his clients and has excellent legal skills, in and out of court. He is nationally recognized as one of the best criminal defense lawyers in the country.

Emory UniversityBA 1994Harvard University Law SchoolJ.D. 1997
Federal Bar Association - S.F. ChapterFlorida Assoc. of Criminal Defense LawyersNational Assoc. of Criminal Defense LawyersLegal Services of Greater Miami

Case History

United States v. Rodrigo HidalgoIn an unusual pre-trial victory, David successfully obtained the dismissal of two antitrust indictments against the Vice President of an airline. David won dismissal of the first indictment after demonstrating his client's lack of participation in the conspiratorial meeting. With regard to the second indictment, David filed a unique motion demonstrating that the VP was simultaneously an employee of another airline which meant that he was covered under the grant of immunity in that airline's plea agreement. The DOJ fought hard against the motion, filing 9 pleadings in opposition and calling multiple witnesses to testify in support of their position. The Magistrate's lengthy order granting the motion to dismiss was affirmed by the District Court.    
United States v. Ali ShayganDavid represented Dr. Ali Shaygan, who was found not guilty in federal court of all 141 counts against him on charges that he illegally prescribed pain medications resulting in a death. Dr. Shaygan was facing a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years if convicted.  After the acquittal, the court ordered the prosecution to refund Dr. Shaygan over $600,000 in fees and costs due to the government's misconduct.  The government appealed and reversed the fee award, but David has appealed the Eleventh Circuit's decision that Hyde Amendment sanctions are not available as a matter of law for the substantial prosecutorial misconduct that took place in the case to the Supreme Court, where it is getting a great deal of press coverage.  Although the 11th Circuit reversed the fee award in a number of controversial opinions, it referred to David as an "elite" and "superb" attorney.
United States v. Francesco Scaglia — This federal criminal antitrust trial involved over a million documents and numerous cooperating witnesses from around the world. Although the trial took 4 weeks, the jury found Mr. Scaglia not guilty in less than 2 hours.
United States v. Edwin Rivera — This case involved 288 counts of RICO, Medicaid fraud, mail and wire fraud, and over 500 boxes of discovery. The trial of these 10 defendants lasted 6 weeks. David's client was found not guilty on all counts. This was the largest prosecution ever in the Southern District of Georgia.
United States v. Francis Dow — The Government alleged that Ms. Dow, a fight attendant for British West Indies Airways, carried 15 pounds of cocaine into the United States. Although she admitted at the border that the luggage was hers and that she packed it, David defended her by showing that she did not know that the cocaine was placed there by someone else. Most noteworthy was David's opening statement in which he challenged the government to call Ms. Dow as a witness. Ms. Dow testified and the jury acquitted her in 12 minutes. The verdict was recognized as one of the top ten verdicts of the year by the National Law Journal.
United States v. Roderick Carter — The well-publicized G-case, Mr. Carter was charged with two drug counts and a gun count. At his first trial, the jury (headed up with a foreman named Innocente) acquitted Mr. Carter of the two drug counts and hung as to the gun count. At the second trial, the district judge granted David's motion for mistrial because there were too many Gs on the jury. At the third trial, a fair and impartial jury consisting of all the letters in the alphabet acquitted Mr. Carter of the remaining count. David's unique motion for mistrial garnered national attention.
State v. Rene Pedrayes — This case involved allegations that Wackenhut executives were involved in a scheme to overbill the county on the Metrorail contract. The charges included over 800 RICO acts. Shortly after David filed certain motions pointing out the infirmities in the prosecution, the state dismissed the case.   David was honored for his work on this case by the Daily Business Review at its Most Effective Lawyers banquet..

Office Location

40 NW Third Street, Penthouse One
Miami, FL 33128
United States


Lawyer of the Year Awards

2017 Lawyer of the Year in Criminal Defense: General Practice of the Miami Metro Area
David Oscar Markus has earned a Lawyer of the Year award for 2017!

Practice Areas

Criminal Defense: General Practice (Appellate, Criminal Investigations, Drug Offenses, Sex Abuse, State and Federal)
Criminal Defense: White-Collar (Appellate, Environmental Crimes, Federal, Government Investigations, Securities Fraud)

Other Information

Gender: Male