Michael C. Cunningham

Associate Attorney
Indiana Defense Lawyer - Michael Cunningham

Whenever I tell people I’m a criminal defense attorney, I often get asked: “How do you defend those people?”

By “those people,” of course, they mean “criminals,” or those who break the law.

My response is simple: I don’t defend criminals. I defend people that the government has accused of crimes; I defend individual liberty, the Constitution, and the rule of law.

In a system that prides itself on the belief that everyone is “innocent until proven guilty”– a belief that a person’s innocence remains intact unless the government can meet its high and heavy burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt – is simply what is required.

As a history lover, I’ve long had a deep appreciation for our founding principles and the Framers of our Constitution. Interestingly, the Framers designed the Bill of Rights focused on the criminal law – providing protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, self-incrimination, and cruel and unusual punishment; and they also provided for the right to bail and the right to trial by jury. But the Framers did not seek to protect criminals. Instead, they designed a system that protected all people and expanded their liberty by limiting the power of the government to take away that freedom without great cause.

Indeed, if the government could take away a person’s freedom and keep them in jail upon a rumor or accusation alone, then we would be neither free nor safe. And it would be only a matter of time before the government came knocking on your door…

So, whenever people ask how I defend those people, I simply say: I don’t defend them; I defend us.

When I was admitted to practice law in 2018, I took an oath to defend the state and federal constitutions, and it is a duty that I take very seriously. And, by dedicating my practice to criminal defense, I’m in the best position to uphold that oath every single day by holding the government’s feet to the fire.

My commitment to criminal defense has allowed me to focus my attention on issues that are critical to my clients’ cases, which, in turn, has led to better results for my clients.

For example, I’ve had evidence thrown out of several cases due to the State’s constitutional violations, which ultimately led to those cases being dismissed. I’ve earned other dismissals and better plea offers for my clients by standing firm in negotiations and having a willingness to go to trial.

At trial, I’ve been able to earn not guilty verdicts or dismissals because of my diligent approach and preparation.

In major sex crimes case against an innocent pastor – who had been charged with 14 counts of sex crimes against 6 different children – I cross-examined the State’s key witness for two days and got her to admit that she had lied about her experience and that she failed to follow her training, which led to unreliable interviews. Following a two-week jury trial, the jury found my client not guilty on all counts after deliberating for just 40 minutes.

In another case, my client was facing decades in prison after he was caught on video allegedly possessing methamphetamine. The problem was that the State had destroyed evidence in that case. I was able to get an “adverse inference instruction” which allowed the jury to consider that the evidence was bad for the State. My client was found not guilty at trial.

And, in a simple misdemeanor Operating While Intoxicated trial, I grilled the lead officer on his field sobriety tests and ultimately got him to admit to the jury that he had lied under oath. On the second day of trial, the State dismissed the case and the officer was fired.

I’ve also had success for my clients on appeal, where I’ve argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court within just the first 5 years of practicing law.

For instance, in arguing a complicated legal theory, I successfully persuaded the Court of Appeals to vacate my client’s conviction. And, I successfully persuaded the Indiana Supreme Court to overturn more than 40 years of precedent, which resulted in the criminally accused having greater access to police reports and discovery materials.

Regardless of the nature of the charges, I strive to provide my clients with grace and humility; clear communication; courageous and passionate advocacy in the courtroom; and a robust knowledge of the law. This ensures that my clients feel heard, and in control of their case. And it ensures a greater possibility of a successful resolution to their case.  

Ultimately, I believe that every person is entitled to a strong defense because a strong defense protects us all.

Accolades & Experience


  • I.U. McKinney School of Law – Indianapolis, IN - J.D. 2017
    • Graduate Certificates in Criminal Law and Advocacy Skills
    • Member of Trial Team and Criminal Defense Clinic
    • Vice President of the Federalist Society
    • Evening Program Graduation Speaker
  • Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN – B.A. History 2012

Bar Admissions

  • State of Indiana
  • United States District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana

Professional Organizations and Bar Associations

  • Indiana State Bar Association
    • Chair of the Criminal Justice Section 2023 – 2024
    • Leadership Development Academy (Class 9) Graduate
  • NACDL – National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • NCDD – National College for DUI Defense
  • Johnson County Bar Association

Experience and Training

  • Associate Attorney, Mullin, McMillin & McMillin, LLC (2018-2023)
  • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum (ICLEF) Trial Advocacy Skills College Graduate, 2022
  • Named by peers as a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” in the field of Criminal Law (2023, 2024)
  • Published cover article in the Indiana State Bar Association’s Res Gestae Magazine. See, Mike Cunningham, Innocence Lost: Indiana’s Dwindling Right to Bail and the Damaging Effect on the Presumption of Innocence, 66 RES GESTAE 12 (2023).
  • Argued before the Indiana Court of Appeals and the Indiana Supreme Court
    • Notable victories include an Indiana Supreme Court case in Minges v. State, 22S-CR-00285, which overturned more than 40 years of precedent.

Personal Interests

  • Spending time with wife, Monica; son, Teddy; and dog, Garth.
  • Cheering on the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals and Purdue Sports