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  • Bio

Jim Castle


Jim was raised in large Irish Catholic family. With four other brothers and sisters to contend with, Jim trained himself at an early age to be an effective advocate.

During his law school education, Jim was exposed to the defense of the criminally accused and instantly recognized this was his calling. When he graduated he chose to become a Public Defender.

Jim decided to become a public defender as he believed in the constitutional principle that all people deserve a quality defense when the government threatens their freedom. Jim believes very strongly that being a lawyer is a profound honor. Abraham Lincoln and John Adams were personal heroes, and both were criminal defense lawyers who mixed their practice with a commitment to serve others.

In his time as a Public Defender, Jim became the youngest attorney to be handed the responsibility of defending a capital death penalty case and the youngest office head in the system. At the time he left the PD system, he held the record for most jury trials done while a county court deputy, 48 jury trials in 40 months. In one remarkable calendar year, Jim tried 13 felony cases to verdict with complete acquittals in all 13 jury trials.

After leaving the Public Defender’s Office, Jim continued to take on the cause of the criminally accused. He takes that responsibility very seriously and has taken on, when requested by the federal or state courts, the toughest and most complex cases in Colorado. This responsibility took on even greater sacrifice when he was called upon by the United Nations to take on the defense of General Momcilo Perisic, Chief of Staff in the Army of Yugoslavia in the second largest international criminal prosecution in history. General Perisic was acquitted of all charges in 2013 and the case set important precedent in international criminal law.

Jim Castle has handled more than 50 homicide cases, including some of Colorado’s most serious cases. It is believed that Jim has obtained more complete acquittals (known as a "walk" in the criminal defense community) in First Degree Murder cases (10) than any other attorney in Colorado history. He has also successfully negotiated 8 other first degree murder cases to plea bargains of 6 or less years and has obtained greatly reduced lesser verdicts, such as manslaughter, in other cases. He has handled several death penalty cases, two of which he walked out of court with complete acquittals. His victories have come in Colorado and in federal courts in Colorado and throughout the country.

Despite these difficult cases, the causes Jim enjoys handling the most are those of ordinary citizens who find themselves charged with a crime. He enjoys being their advocate, their spokesman, their defender.

Jim has been appointed by the state and federal courts in Colorado but also by federal judges in California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New Mexico.

Jim Castle has handled more than 50 homicide cases and thousands of drug and violent crime cases.

Jim has been named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in 2008-Present. Jim has been named one of the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers” by the American Association for Justice and has been selected for inclusion on the 2008-2024 Super Lawyers® lists by 5280 Magazine.

Jim has handled cases that have become the subject of documentaries produced by the BBC, the Discovery Channel and 48 Hours. He has been a nationally recognized expert in criminal defense and has been a guest commentator for CNN, CNBC, Fox News and the New York Times, as well as local television stations and newspapers.

Jim Castle has been a zealous advocate for the accused for over 37 years.

Jim has received several awards including:

  • 2000 Jonathan Olom Award by the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar (CCDB) – the highest individual award given by the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar "for remarkable personal sacrifice made without regards to personal gain in the defense of the accused.”
  • 2001 President Award from the CCDB
  • 2003 Volunteer Lawyer of the Year Award given by the Denver Bar Association
  • 2015 St. Thomas More Award – Colorado Catholic Lawyer’s Guild – which is given annually to an attorney who exemplifies the intellect, integrity and moral courage of St. Thomas More in service to God, country and profession.

Jim is one of a select few attorneys in the country to be designated “Learned Counsel” by the Administrative Office for the U.S. Courts to handle capital cases throughout the country and the only attorney in Colorado to be appointed by the United Nations Tribunals to be lead counsel in international criminal defense cases.

Jim is often called upon to teach his fellow attorneys, was President of the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, and has been recognized by courts and prosecutors as an expert in criminal defense. He has received the highest national rating for competence and ethics.

Jim is a partner in Castle & Castle, a firm devoted to the defense of those charged with matters ranging from Drugs, White Collar and Violent Crime to Juvenile, Domestic Violence, Vehicular and Property Crimes. His partner in the firm is his wife, Liz Castle, who he met at the Public Defender’s Office in Denver. They share the same goal: to zealously defend their clients with honor and distinction.


  • Bucknell University (1977–1981)—BS Economics; graduated with honors
  • University of Denver School of Law (1981–1984)—Barristers Cup Fellow
  • University of Pennsylvania, Neuroscience Immersion (2012)


  • Colorado State Public Defender (1984–1992)—served in the Denver, Salida and Golden Regional offices; Senior Trial Counsel—Salida and Golden offices
  • Self-employed attorney (1992–2004)
  • Castle & Castle, P.C. (2005-present)

Published Articles & Lectures

  • Colorado Rules of Evidence: Using the Rules to Win Cases (Colo. Public Def. Annual Conf) – 1991
  • Jury Nullification (Trial Talk) – 1992
  • Florida Trial Lawyers Journal – 1992
  • Alternate Suspect Defense (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 1997
  • Voir Dire (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 1998
  • Closing Arguments (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 1999
  • Opening Statements (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 2000
  • Cross Examination of the Informant Witness (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 2001
  • Motions Practice: Strategies and Unconventional Use (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 2000, 2002
  • Mental Health Issues (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 2003
  • Creative Use of the Rules of Evidence – 2004
  • International Criminal Tribunals (Colo. Crim. Def. Bar) – 2006
  • An American Lawyer in Holland (Denver Docket) – 2016
  • Rethink Death Penalty in Light of Widespread Government Misconduct, (Guest commentary, Denver Post) – 2017
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