Best Lawyers In America has named George J Cotsirilos, Jr. San Francisco Non-white Collar Criminal Lawyer Of The Year for 2015. He has been a criminal defense lawyer for over thirty-five years. Mr. Cotsirilos is a lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley 's Boalt Hall School of Law, where he has taught criminal trial practice for fifteen years. He also has lectured on criminal defense related subjects in a variety of other forums and was the chairperson of the Federal Criminal Justice Act Panel for the Northern District of California from 2000 to 2006. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Committee of the American Bar Association and California Attorneys for Criminal Justice.
Mr. Cotsirilos began his career in 1978 as a public defender, trying a wide variety of criminal cases, from misdemeanors to murder. Thereafter, Mr. Cotsirilos entered private practice in San Francisco, handling a broad range of state and federal matters at the trial and appellate levels. Mr. Cotsirilos has handled and tried virtually every type of criminal case from murder, to complex white collar fraud.
At the appellate level, Mr. Cotsirilos has briefed and argued numerous cases before the state and federal appellate courts, including several which are cited as precedent for important principles of criminal law. In addition to his listing in Best Lawyers, Mr. Cotsirilos has been named among the Northern California Super Lawyers since the inception of that listing.
United States v. Hutchinson, et al. (ND Cal) — In this matter, the client, a college professor, was charged with multiple fraud offenses for allegedly participating in a scheme to defraud the government in connection with student veteran benefits. He was acquitted of all charges following a lengthy jury trial.
People v. Roberts, 2 Cal.4 th 271 (1992) — This is a reported murder case where, on appeal, the California Supreme Court invalidated the standard jury instruction for proximate cause in criminal cases and established the standards for the current correct instructions.
United States v. Jerome, 942 F.2d 1328 (9th Cir. 1991) — This is a reported case in which the client''s conviction for operating a continuing criminal enterprise was reversed and which states the standard for when, without request from the defense, a trial court must instruct a jury that it must unanimously agree on the specific act which forms the basis for a continuing criminal enterprise charge.
United States. v. Castaneda, 16 F.3d 1504 (9th Cir. 1994) — This is a reported money laundering opinion in which the client''s conviction was reversed and which sets forth the standard for admission of co-conspirator statements at trial.
United States v. Rausini (ND Cal.) — At the trial level, this case entailed successful defense of the first federal homicide case authorized for capital prosecution in the Northern District of California.
United States v. Reliant Energy, et al. — In this matter involved the successful defense at the trial level of a company vice president charge with multiple wire fraud offenses and in the first criminal prosecution under the federal commodities exchange act.