Caree Harper

Top rated Civil Rights attorney in Santa Monica, California

The Law Offices of Caree Harper
Caree Harper
The Law Offices of Caree Harper

Practice Areas: Civil Rights, Criminal Defense; view more

Licensed in California since: 2002

Education: Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2021 - 2024
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The Law Offices of Caree Harper

100 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 700
Santa Monica, CA 90401 Visit website


Caree Harper is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in Santa Monica, California. The founder of The Law Offices of Caree Harper, she serves clients throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area and Santa Monica.

Ms. Harper has over 20 years of experience providing legal counsel for a whole variety of civil rights and criminal defense matters at the state and federal levels, including jury trials in both arenas. She was a police officer in the East Bay area and was injured in the line of duty, which provides her with a distinct advantage when helping California residents who are facing criminal charges or whose civil rights have been violated.

Striving to protect her clients’ rights to life and liberty, Ms. Harper understands that her clients’ freedom and long-term future may be in jeopardy when they are accused of criminal charges. During her time as an attorney, she has been involved in many significant cases that have secured the most favorable results for her clients.

Ms. Harper spent a decade taking on pro bono cases for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in Pasadena, and she mentored youth through Grizzly Youth Academy. Recognizing her commitment to providing free legal services, the County of Los Angeles & U.S. House of Representatives awarded her the Shirley Fields Volunteer Award for spending nearly half of her time on pro bono cases.

After receiving a bachelor’s degree and a paralegal certification from Saint Mary’s College of California in Moraga, Ms. Harper earned her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law and then passed the California Bar exam on the first attempt in 2002. She also received training to investigate death penalty cases from Santa Clara University School of Law. 

Involved in her legal community, Ms. Harper is a member of the John M. Langston Bar Association, the Black Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, and the California Lawyers Association Solo and Small Firm Section.

As a result of her real, rational and reasonable services, Ms. Harper has received several endorsements and positive reviews from her peers and clients. She is rated “Very Good” through Avvo and included in the list of the “Top 100 Attorneys in Civil Rights and Criminal Defense” in 2014 by The National Trial Lawyers.

Practice areas

Civil Rights, Criminal Defense

Focus areas

Criminal Law, Police Misconduct

  • 80% Civil Rights
  • 20% Criminal Defense

First Admitted: 2002, California

Professional Webpage:

  • Southern California Super Lawyers
  • Named one of the National Trial Lawyers "Top 100" since 2014
  • Selected by peers as one of the Top 100 Attorneys in Civil Rights and Criminal Defense, "Top 100" Attorneys, National Trial Attorneys (NTL), 2014
  • Shirley Fields Volunteer Award
  • "In recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community"., Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, U.S. House of Representatives, 2005
  • In the 1990s, Caree Harper was a police officer in the Bay Area. Although having a fear of water, Harper received a Life Saving Award for diving into a canal of water, pulling out a submerged driver and administering CPR until help arrived. The victim was airlifted to safety and fully recovered., Police officer, CHP
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Basic Certificate- Commission on Peace Officer Standards & Training (P.O.S.T.) # B64630 Issued by Gov. Pete Wilson, 1991
  • ABA Paralegal Certification from Saint Mary's College of Moraga (Civil Litigation Specialty), 1995
Educational Background:
  • Saint Mary's College of Moraga, Moraga CA / B.A., 1997
  • Santa Clara University Law Center, Santa Clara CA: Death Penalty Investigation Training ("C.A.Ps"), 1995
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Grizzly Youth Academy. Mentor to troubled youth, 2003
  • Pro bono work for indigent in the City of Pasadena
  • Mariscal v. CHP Ofc Ledesma Case#04cv9087 CAS-E $500,000. Jury Verdict for Plaintiff David Mariscal (Police Misconduct case) Martin Ledesma in which jury found Officer Ledesma violated the civil rights of David Mariscal after the cross-examination of the Officer by attorney Caree Harper., 2007
  • Charges Dismissed Against Black Lives Matter Protesters after trial, 2016
  • Pasadena Police officers responded to a call from Reginald Thomas, who was suffering from a mental crisis and possible intoxication, requesting help. Police, beat, tased, kicked and ultimately suffocated Mr. Thomas in front of two of his children. After the Defendant officers pled the 5th and refused to answer questions Attorney Harper was successful on pretrial motions to preclude the officers from testifying at trial at all. The City then settled for $1.5 million., 2018
  • McDade v. City of Pasadena Pasadena PD Officers Mathin Griffin and Jeffrey Newlen responded to a call of a robbery that just occurred. It is important to note that this incident occurred just a few short weeks after George Zimmerman shot and killed Travon Martin after chasing him down. Kendrec Mcdade has chased down the streets of Pasadena with all of their lights out and Kendrec never knew that it was police chasing him. After hitting him with the car Officer Griffin began shooting Kendrec while seated in the vehicle. Thinking that his partner was taking fire, officer Newlen shot Kendrec as well. In short, Kendrec was shot 8 times for running from police. Pasadena settled for $1.5 Million., 2014
  • 2004: Six-figure settlement in Franklin v. City of Inglewood CV02-6273 SJO-E; 2005: Came into case on first day of trial to assist a distressed colleague; assumed examination of key witnesses and this led to a jury verdict and "kudos" from the Chief Justice of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Alex Kozinski; in Ellison v. Lounty of Los Angeles CV-02-2111 AK-E 2007: $500,000.00 jury trial verdict in the matter of Mariscal v. C.H.P. Ofc. Ledesma CV 04-9087 CAS-E 2008: Jury verdict in 4th Amendment case Nunn v. Co. of Orange CV -06-2275 AG-JC, 2007
  • Marlene Pinnock v. CHP Officer Daniel Andrew, 14cv05551. $1.5 million dollar settlement for Plaintiff. (Police misconduct) CHP officer Daniel Andrew was seen on a video that went viral beating a homeless woman on the 10 freeway in Los Angeles. Attorney Harper set precedent by having the terms of the OFFICER'S TERMINATION FROM THE POLICE FORCE embodied in the Settlement Agreement. The case resolved and Atty Harper protected the plaintiff's funds in a special needs trust., 2014
  • Clinton D. Alford v. Beck et al 14-cv-08874-FMO-AGR (Police misconduct) $500,000.00 Settlement A Los Angeles man, misidentified by LAPD, ran from undercover officers in 2014. A surveillance camera caught one officer repeatedly punches the young man and then punctuates the beating with a kick to the head.  After the officer kicked the man so hard as to dislodge the filling from his tooth he was dragged to the patrol car and a prosecuted for resisting arrest. Attorney Harper stepped into the criminal case, where the public defender was about to plead him out to the charge, and ultimately Harper had all charges dismissed. A later federal lawsuit resulted in a $500,000.00 settlement. The officer was prosecuted criminally for excessive force.;-1-of-2-charges-dismissed-/372420/, 2017
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Solo and Small Firm- California Lawyers Association, 2020
  • Black Women Lawyers of Los Angeles, 2020

Office location for Caree Harper

100 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 700
Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 213-386-5078


4 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2021 - 2024

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