Mr. Mesereau was the lead trial counsel in the defense of actor Robert Blake’s high profile murder case over the death of his wife. Prosecutors alleged that Mr. Blake had personally shot his wife in Los Angeles, California and that he had solicited her murder from various individuals. Mr. Blake was charged with capital murder and faced a potential death sentence under a statute in California called “murder with special circumstances.” Following a televised three week preliminary hearing, Mr. Mesereau broke legal ground by obtaining bail for Mr. Blake. No defendant had ever received bail in California in this kind of case over prosecution objection. See article: Blake’s Attorney Is Known for His Fierce, Tenacious Defense of Clients.
Significance: Obtaining bail for Mr. Blake in a murder with special circumstances case in California was considered impossible. Prosecutors from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office argued that bail was illegal. Not only did Mr. Blake obtain bail, but the conspiracy count was eventually dismissed due to Mr. Mesereau’s cross-examination of prosecution witnesses. Mr. Mesereau cross-examined every prosecution witness and delivered a nationally televised closing argument. Due to Mr. Mesereau’s courtroom performance, the prosecutors were replaced and public opinion nationwide shifted toward Mr. Blake. After the preliminary hearing, the trial judge called Mr. Mesereau “the best criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles County.” This shift in public opinion was the largest turnaround Court TV had ever experienced.