Michael Rains, a prominent criminal defense attorney who has represented numerous peace officers who have found themselves accused of breaking the law, is the attorney representing former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in the videotaped shooting death of Oscar Grant.
He was hired to represent Mehserle on Jan. 22, 2009, replacing Sacramento-based labor attorney Christopher Miller.
In court, Rains argued that his client mistook his gun for his taser and accidentally shot and killed Grant when he intended to tase him.
Rains is being paid to defend Mehserle by a statewide fund for peace officers that police departments throughout California — including BART Police — contribute towards in the event that an officer is charged with a crime.
The attorney is under a court-imposed gag order in the case. He is not allowed to speak publicly about the trial.
Rains’s practice, Pleasant Hill-based Rains Lucia Stern, has represented many high profile clients, including former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds when Bonds was facing federal criminal charges related to the BALCO steroids scandal.
He also represented the Oakland Riders, a group of Oakland Police officers who allegedly participated in misconduct and overly aggressive policing techniques on suspects.
Rains, a former U.S. Marine and Santa Monica Police officer, attended Golden West University School of Law and has been practicing for over a quarter century.
He currently lives in San Ramon with his wife and son.
Information from Beat research and news services