Although the victory brought [M. GERALD SCHWARTZBACH] national attention, it was far from a defining moment for the soft-spoken Mill Valley attorney. Over a 36-year legal career, Schwartzbach has made his mark by taking on many cases that others avoided, some at his own expense, others as a court-appointed counsel.
In 1981, Schwartzbach was one of the first attorneys to defend a client using the battered-women's syndrome defense, in the case of Dolores Churchill, who had been charged with shooting her police officer husband. A year later, Schwartzbach won a case that established the right of a defendant facing the death penalty to be represented by two lawyers.
VICTORY CELEBRATION: Attorney M. Gerald Schwartzbach, left, shares a laugh with [Robert Blake] at a news conference outside the Van Nuys courthouse following the actor's acquittal on murder charges in the 2001 shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.; PHOTOGRAPHER: Gary Friedman Los Angeles Times