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James D. Riddet

Of Counsel

James Riddet has over 47 years of experience in defending criminal cases in state and federal court, and has tried nearly 100 cases to juries in state and federal court. Mr. Riddet has a well deserved reputation in the legal community of defending federal cases. He began defending such cases in 1970 and has over the years represented dozens of individuals who are charged with federal offenses or who are under investigation by a federal agency such as the FBI, SEC, DEA, IRS or other such agencies. He has dealt repeatedly with many members of the United States Attorney’s Office in Orange County and in Los Angeles and has also handled federal cases in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Diego, Riverside and outside of California in New York, Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle and other major cities.

In addition to practicing extensively in the federal courts, Mr. Riddet has been an active member of many federal court committees having been appointed by the Chief Judge to serve on such committees as the magistrate’s selection committee and the disciplinary committee. In addition, when the court established a branch court in Santa Ana, Mr. Riddet was asked to chair the indigent panel, which involved selection and training of lawyers to be on the indigent panel. He has also been selected by members of the federal judiciary to be an attorney representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, and has served as co-chair of the attorney delegation. In addition to being active in federal court committees, Mr. Riddet has served on the Board of Directors for the Federal Bar Association, Orange County Bar Association and California Attorneys For Criminal Justice.

Mr. Riddet has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, which is an organization which has the highest criteria for membership. The College’s criteria for membership states that fellowship to the College “is only extended by invitation, after careful investigation, to those experienced lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality”. The College operates under a rule that there can never be more than 1% of the total population of attorneys in any state or province.

Mr. Riddet has also been selected by Los Angeles Magazine as a Super Lawyer and selected as one of the top 50 lawyers in Orange County.

Mr. Riddet’s past cases have involved representation of business executives, doctors, lawyers and others in a variety of federal charges including mail fraud, wire fraud, security fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, narcotics offenses, bribery and corruption by public officials. He was selected by a high member of the British government to represent his son in charges in California. At the time that Mr. Riddet was selected to replace the prior lawyer, the local newspapers reported the change with a headline that stated that the client “replaces his first attorney with a high powered veteran…”

Mr. Riddet has also been asked to speak on issues related to criminal defense. Recently, he was invited by St. John’s Law School to address the students and faculty about a case which Mr. Riddet handled in federal court. He appeared as part of a panel with the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the chief of the appellate section of the United States Attorney’s office.


  • Indiana University School of Law, Bloomington, Indiana J.D. 1966
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana B.S. Business


  • Supreme Court of California (1967)
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Central District of California (1967)
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (1973)
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of California (1979)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (1974)


  • Orange County Bar Association, Board of Governors
  • California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Board of Directors
  • Federal Bar Association, Board of Directors
  • CJA Panel, Chair
  • Southern Division CJA Panel, U.S. District Court, Committee Member
  • Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, Lawyer Delegate, Chair, 1989-2000
  • Magistrate’s Selection Committee, U.S. District Court, Committee Member