Michael D. Kimerer
Class of 1958

December 10, 1999
Santa Paula Union High School Alumni Association
Santa Paula High School
Mike is the son of Frank and Margaret Kimerer, who moved to Santa Paula in 1957. His father worked as a warehouseman in the local avocado plant, and his mother was a reporter for the Santa Paula Chronicle. Mike is the oldest of five siblings; Pat, Bonnie, Jeff and Jake also attended Santa Paula schools. Mike wanted to be a criminal defense attorney since he was 10 years old. His idol was Clarence Darrow. He studied drama and public speaking at SPUHS, and won numerous awards for public speaking under the tutelage of his high school speech and civics teacher, Robert Raitt. He also won the high school Best Actor award from the prestigious Pasadena Playhouse during his senior year. Part of that award was a contract with MGM, but he turned it down to pursue a career in law.Following graduation from SPUHS Mike went to Ventura Junior College, and then on to Cal State at Chico where he majored in psychology and English. He married in his junior year and, to support his college education, held as many as four part time jobs at one time. He did research in the psychology department, clerked in a shoe store, was a private investigator for a lawyer, and worked in a machine shop making dental instruments. He graduated with a degree in psychology in 1964. While pursuing his masterís degree at Chico State, he worked full time as the Assistant Dean of Students.After saving enough money to attend law school, Mike became a member of the first class of the law school at the University of California, Davis. While in law school, he worked for Sacramento Legal Aid, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the law firm of Karlton & Blease in Sacramento. He graduated in 1969.Following graduation from law school, Mike was offered the opportunity to work with John Flynn, the renowned criminal defense lawyer who won the Miranda case at the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1972 they formed the firm of Flynn & Kimerer which specialized in criminal law, handling major cases in the western United States. Following Flynnís death in 1981, the firm evolved into the present firm of Kimerer & LaVelle, specializing in criminal and civil litigation.Mike Kimerer is on more than one list of the nationís best criminal defense lawyers, and has been involved in defending some high-profile clients in Arizona. Included are the late Arizona land fraud czar Ned Warren; Bernie Cornfeld; various politicians, including a Superior Court judge; several well-known professional athletes facing criminal charges; and he was hired by the National Basketball Association to oversee the defense in the drug scandal surrounding the Phoenix Suns in the early 80s. He represented rock star Tommy Lee; and has recently received media attention for his representation of Scott Falater, who claimed to be sleepwalking at the time he stabbed his wife 44 times.
Besides his notoriety as a criminal defense attorney, Kimerer has been active in bar activities. He is a member of both the California and Arizona State Bars, has served as chairman of the ABA Criminal Justice Section Committee on Specialization in Criminal Law, was one of the founders of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice and served as president from 1986 to 1988, and is a fellow and past president of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.He has served on various State Bar and Supreme Court committees. He served on the Supreme Court Committee to Review the Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Supreme Court Committee on Drug Testing, and the Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Rules for Post-Conviction Relief. He sat on the committee appointed by the Legislature to review the Victimís Rights Bills, and chaired the Supreme Court Committee for indigent representation in capital cases. He served as a member of the Arizona State Board of Governors from 1989-1997, where he served as the Probable Cause Panelist for the Arizona State Bar, and served on the Environmental Resources Section, the Criminal Justice Section, and the Membership Assistance Program. He was president of the Arizona State Bar from 1995-1996.He acts as Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court and the Arizona Court of Appeals. He has been an adjunct Professor of Law at Arizona State University, and has spoken at many seminars on criminal justice issues. He is listed in the criminal law portion of the Best Lawyers in America. In 1993, he received the John J. Flynn Memorial Award for distinguished service to the criminal defense bar.Mike has two grown children from his marriage to Karen Granskog. Daughter Kelly is a teacher with two children of her own, and son Kirk, an entrepreneur, lives with Mike and his present wife Suzanne and his stepchildren, Meghan and Adam. Mike has always had an interest in classic movies. He was recently honored at a banquet in Sacramento where his alma mater named him one of their most distinguished alumnae.

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