About Debra

Debra Opri is widely considered to be one of the most recognizable female litigation attorneys of the 21st Century, both in the courtroom and on television.

The Media as the 13th Juror

by Debra Opri - Attorney and Legal Analyst Take note of the temper of the times. We are witnessing the consistent and methodical tactics of a new kind of juror in American jurisprudence; one that is both out of control and uncontrollable. And, once she enters our courtroom, the damage to the fair trial system will be far reaching and irreparable. Unlike the 12 jurors chosen by the system, this 13th juror is not chosen. This juror is not subject to the rules of the 12 who sit in judgment of the defendant. This juror that I speak of is the Media, a creation of all of us and our constitution, an entity that exists to feed the public, to always feed the insatiable appetite of the public. This 13th juror guides, motivates and influences the 12 jurors throughout the trial, even before the trial has begun, through television and the newspaper. How does this 13th juror get into the courtroom? Merely by asserting the First Amendment rights of free speech to access the evidence [...]

Michael Jackson – Reality TV

by Debra Opri - Attorney and Legal Analyst Flashback! 1993. Michael Jackson is on television. He's giving an interview. He is proclaiming his innocence regarding allegations of child molestation. Shortly thereafter, there is a settlement of megabucks - we are talking millions - and no charges are ever filed, no testimony ever secured; only innuendo. Much innuendo. And the ever so slight beginnings of a downward spiral of a celebrity... in the media. It would be years later that we would learn Michael didn't know of the settlement and was later advised it was a good 'business' decision, by his 'closest' advisors. The years since 1993 have not been out of the ordinary for Michael. From what we know, he has continued to live his same lifestyle. He has performed. He has continued to make money, and to spend it. And his desire to hold on to the innocence of youth has become soured by a media intent on turning it into innocence lost at a price. Michael Jackson stayed in the press, but the [...]

Why California Needs “Caylee’s Law”

by Debra Opri - Attorney and Legal Analyst Support for the recently proposed initiative, "Caylee's Law," which resulted from public outcry following Casey Anthony's acquittal, has been picked up widely throughout the country. In fact, legislators from 30 states have pledged to carry a version of the law which would make it illegal for parents and guardians to fail to report when their child has been killed or gone missing for 48 hours. Today,CA Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell introduced Assembly Bill 1432, which would make it a felony for a parent or guardian to fail to report a missing or dead child within 24 hours of the death or disappearance if it occurred under suspicious circumstances. As a family lawyer, my prime objective is to protect the child, and I am certain this law fills a void. For authorities to know at the earliest possible moment whatever details a parent/guardian may have as to the disappearance or death of a child is essential. All heard the statistics of how the chance of finding a missing child [...]