Kathie A. Perry

Managing Partner Board-Certified* Criminal Trial Specialist
Indiana Criminal Defense Lawyer - Kathie Perry

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Criminal defense is not neat and tidy. Successful criminal defense lawyers in Indianapolis have to embrace the chaos. For this reason, most lawyers run away from criminal defense work. Fighting for a client who is facing the loss of their freedom and reputation is extremely nerve-wracking to say the least. It is filled with complications and contradictions. It keeps you up at night. However, in spite of the chaos of criminal defense, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

My entire career has been spent exclusively defending the accused, except for a 9-month period in 2014 when I briefly ventured into other areas of law. It was a miserable 9 months, but it helped me realize a very basic fact about myself: I am a criminal defense attorney. Period.

Joining The Criminal Defense Team, with our exciting style of aggressive, creative and strategic defense and dedication to the criminally accused was a perfect fit. For those who are dedicated to criminal defense as we are, fighting for people accused of committing crimes is simply a way of life.

There was a point in my career as a Deputy Public Defender, I endured a trial gauntlet consisting of five jury trials in a row, representing five different clients accused of committing the following crimes: murder, rape, aggravated battery, attempted murder, and burglary. I was living on little sleep, lots of coffee and with the constant anguish of knowing that how well I did my job could be the difference between freedom for my clients or spending most of their lives behind bars. That was chaos, pure and simple…..and I loved it. None of the five defendants in those cases were found guilty! Somehow, I had run through the trial gauntlet unscathed. Most importantly, each of my clients had a new lease on life.

As strange as it sounds, I love the chaos of criminal defense. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s and to say that I did not have a very typical childhood would be a vast understatement. However, I believe it is my own tumultuous childhood helped me gravitate toward criminal defense and gave me the tools, passion and skillset to give our clients the aggressive and compassionate representation we are known for providing. My parents divorced when I was young. I lived in Maine for the early part of my life before moving 3,000 miles away to the West Coast to get me out of the destructive environment that had become our lives. She was a single mother and I was her only child and we left everything we knew behind. Shortly after I finished high school, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer and I was on my own to finish college and start my life. My relatives were scattered all over the country, including my father, who because of his addiction issues, was largely out of my life until years later when he also fought a losing battle with cancer. When a client refers to their anxiety and frustration, I can relate. I have been there. When they tell me that they are scared, angry or confused…I get it. I’ve lived it.

I have held on to a few remnants from my chaotic past. For example, I am a fervent Boston Red Sox fan because my father loved the Sox. I hold fondly the memories created with him at Fenway Park as a child. However, I learned a long time ago that dwelling on the past does not solve problems. When we are hired, we need to understand the past (the facts of our client’s case), but also focus on the future (developing a cohesive strategy that will put our client in the best position to attain the best practical outcome). Along the way, things can get hectic. Prosecutors may not see things the same way that we do. Judges may set difficult timetables and unexpected orders. Police may lie. Witnesses may exaggerate or disappear entirely. Any number of other pitfalls may arise during the course of our representation. There will be difficult decisions to make. It’s during times like these that we do our best work.

We’re not afraid of tough choices. We take on the challenge and figure out ways to succeed, sometimes when success doesn’t seem possible. Criminal defense work is not for the faint of heart. However, for those of us that can embrace the chaos and aggressively fight for their clients in spite of it, the challenge is incredibly rewarding. My own personal journey prepared me for this life. And I’m ready to put my experience to work for you.

“What an amazing experience we had with Kathie Perry and this firm.  This group is more than attorneys.  They are very personable and really do care about their clients.  They work hard and are diligent in their work.  The most important thing is their communication.  They ensure you completely understand each step of the process and when you have a question, they respond timely to calls or emails.  Their expertise and experience are reflected in their quality of work.  When you hire an attorney from this firm, you get the group of expertise which is a great bonus.  Thank you Kathie and The Criminal Defense Team!!” – Nicole M

Accolades & Experience


  • Maurer School of Law—Indiana University, Bloomington—J.D. 2001
    • Merit Scholarship
  • University of Washington—Seattle, Washington—B.A. Sociology 1996

Professional organizations + bar associations

  • National Board of Trial Advocacy – Criminal Trial Specialist since 2017
    • Member, Board of Directors
    • Chair, Criminal Trial Specialty Commission
    • Treasurer
    • Vice President
  • National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Indiana State Bar Association
  • Indianapolis Bar Association
  • Admitted to practice in
    • Indiana
    • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana

Experience + training

  • Deputy Public Defender, Marion County Public Defender Agency (2001—2014)
  • Macon Criminal Defense College, 2005
  • Sagamore Inn of Court
    • Member 2002—2004 and 2011—2016
  • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum (ICLEF), Presenter - Criminal Defense Year in Review (2019, 2020)
  • Regular attendee of national and local criminal defense seminars and conferences

Personal interests

  • New England Sports—especially the Red Sox and Patriots!
  • Swimming
  • Reading
  • Trivia