San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney

California Police Misconduct Lawyer

Getting You the Best Deal Possible

"In any courtroom, whether a criminal or civil case, there is a difference between what actually happened and what you can prove happened." — Keith H. Rutman, Attorney at Law, San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer

My name is Keith Rutman and I have practiced law in San Diego County, Temecula and throughout Southern California for more than 25 years. My practice is devoted to criminal defense work and police misconduct cases. I also handle select business litigation cases.

Honest Case Evaluations and Practical Advice

Whether you are facing criminal charges, have suffered an emotional or physical injury at the hands of the police, or are a small business owner engaged in a legal dispute, you deserve a clear picture of what the legal system can and cannot do for you. I can give you a clear description of all possible options, along with a frank assessment of the costs, advantages and disadvantages of pursuing each option.

You will have peace of mind after you leave your first, free consultation with me because I will tell you exactly what you need to know. I will then put my skills at your disposal to achieve your goals ethically, efficiently and cost-effectively. Find out more about my areas of practice :

  • Criminal defense — I defend clients charged with a range of criminal offenses in state and federal courts, including DUI, drug crimes, weapon offenses, violent crimes, and white collar crimes.
  • Police misconduct — You have a right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, including excessive and unreasonable force used by police officers.
  • Business litigation — I have advanced experience helping small- and medium-sized businesses resolve their legal disputes quickly and cost-effectively.

Recent Verdicts and Settlements

My goal is your goal — to get you the best deal possible, whether that means a plea bargain, reduced sentence, "not guilty" verdict, settlement offer or financial award. Recent verdicts and settlements include:

  • False arrest and excessive force: $220,000 post-trial settlement
  • Keith Rutman was co-counsel with Al Arena on behalf of Juan Francisco Estrada-Gonzalez, a high profile death penalty case involving multiple kidnappings, torture and 6 murders. Spanning almost 14 months from start to finish, the case (People v. Estrada, SCD 208824) was the longest criminal, not to mention death penalty, trial in San Diego. The case, which the District Attorney’s Office referred to as "Los Palillos" received extensive local, national and international coverage. Preparation for the trial involved organizing and reviewing over 20,000 pages of reports, audio and video, hundreds of trial exhibits, and multiple instances of prior testimony. Dozens of witnesses testified and were subjected to cross-examination. With the assistance of paralegal Edilma Chan, trial consultant Toni Blake and other members of the defense team, Mr. Rutman and Mr. Arena achieved a hung jury at the penalty phase. This District Attorney announced their intention to retry the penalty phase, but subsequently agreed to 6 consecutive Life without Parole sentences in lieu of a retrial to try to obtain a death sentence. Mr. Estrada was already serving a Life without Parole sentence at the time the trial started. See http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/25/3-plead-guilty-los-palillos-murder-kidnapping/"
  • Assault by police officer: $235,000 pretrial settlement
  • Arrest of domestic violence victim: $25,000 pretrial settlement.
  • Invasion of privacy: $25,000 settlement
  • Criminal threat: Dismissed by court mid-trial
  • Kidnapping for robbery: Not Guilty Verdict
  • Five (5) counts of assault with a deadly weapon in a gang related stabbing case: Not Guilty Verdict
  • Gang affiliation: Not true finding
  • Breach of contract: $50,000 Settlement
  • Breach of contract: $250,000 Verdict

A Word About Bail in California

There is an option available for those persons who are not to afford both bail/a bail bond and the cost of hiring an attorney.   In California, it is possible to post a home(s) as bail, as long as the home(s), all located in the state, have total equity worth twice the bail. This eliminates going through a bail bondsman and is relatively inexpensive. To find out more, call me for further details.

Free and Confidential Consultation

Contact my office to schedule a free and confidential half-hour consultation. Call toll free, 888-714-6354, or 619-237-9072.

All Major Credit Cards Accepted via PayPal
Payment Plans Available
Servicios del intérprete disponibles


  • "Dear Mr. Rutman, I can't begin to thank you for all you have done for Jarrett and Jordan - specifically Jordan; you have gone over and above what most attorneys would do, and treated Jordan so well accepting his "I don't know what your talking about mentality". Jordan is greatly relieved it is over but I don't think he understands fully what is expected of him for the next 12 months. He is very aware of how lucky he is not to be in jail. All we can do is to continually remind him and keep him in therapy. I will keep you posted occasionally on how he is doing, without you, he wouldn't be doing at all. We all wish you the best of everything. Take care." - Judy, Jarrett and Jordan
  • "Mr. Rutman did a great job in my dispute over the accuracy of my criminal record against the State of California, and he got the Court to order it changed in my favor. I would highly recommend Mr. Rutman, he is diligent and prompt and very knowledgeable. He would be my first choice if I ever need an attorney again, and he should be yours." - Jerry S
  • "Keith and I have handled very complicated trials together including multiple bank robberies and murder cases. I highly endorse Keith. He is always a well prepared, caring, and aggressive criminal defense attorney."
  • "I opposed Keith in a federal civil rights claim brought in federal court. Keith was creative and determined to advocate his clients interests and was a pleasure to work with. A true professional in every regard. Enthusiastically recommended and endorsed!"