John Burton

Immediate Past President
Pasadena, CA

John Burton obtained his undergraduate degree from UCLA in 1976, and graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1978, following an externship with California Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk. He is admitted to all California state and federal courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Burton is a member of the NPAP Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California and the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. Mr. Burton was a member of Police Watch: The Police Misconduct Lawyers Referral Service, from 1986 until its dissolution in 2004, and is a past president of its board of directors.

Mr. Burton was a professor of Torts at the University of West Los Angeles from 1981 through 1989. Since 1984, he has focused his practice on representing victims of police misconduct. Besides representing individuals in garden variety matters, Mr. Burton has provided leadership to teams comprised of several police misconduct attorneys in three major complex cases. He was lead counsel for plaintiffs’ attorneys in civil litigation arising from the August 1988 Dalton Avenue raids by the Los Angeles Police Department ($3.5 million recovered), and was vice-lead counsel to Hugh Manes in the class action lawsuit against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, arising from widespread misconduct at the Lynwood Substation ($7.5 million recovered in addition to compelled institutional changes). Most recently, Mr. Burton served as co-lead counsel with Barry Litt in the class action cases challenging the systematic over-detention and unnecessary strip searches of people held in Los Angeles County jails ($27 million recovered and system changed).

Mr. Burton’s published decisions in police misconduct matters include Montiel v. City of Los Angeles, 2 F.3d 335 (9th Cir. 1993) (Report of Christopher Commission on LAPD misconduct admissible); Greenstreet v. County of San Bernardino, 41 F.3d 1306 (9th Cir. 1994) (section 1983 liability attached to search warrant application unsupported by probable cause); and Streit v. County of Los Angeles, 236 F.3d 552 (9th Cir.), cert. denied. 122 S.Ct. 59 (2001) (California sheriffs manage local jails on behalf of counties, not the state). Along with co-counsel Peter Williamson of Williamson & Krauss of Woodland Hills, California, Mr. Burton represented plaintiffs in Heston v. City of Salinas and TASER International, Inc. On June 9, 2008, the jury returned a $6.2 million verdict against TASER International, the first such verdict since the company introduced 26-watt electronic control devices (ECDs) in 2000. See to learn more.