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TOP 100 WOMEN LITIGATORS IN 2010-Cheryl O'Connor Murphy
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Cheryl O’Connor Murphy
Los Angeles
U.S. Attorney’s Office — Central District of California
Practice Area: Criminal law, public corruption and civil rights cases
Years in Practice: 15
Law School: USC Gould School of Law

Cheryl O’Connor Murphy has spent nearly 12 of her 15 years as a lawyer as a federal prosecutor, representing the United States on behalf of victims of violent crimes, civil rights abuses, fraud and white-collar crime. Most notably, last year she led the prosecution team in United States v. Vasquez-Valenzuela, the nation’s largest sex traffi cking case which resulted in prison sentences of at least 30 years for each of the defendants. In that case, five family members lured young, uneducated women from Guatemala to Los Angeles and forced them to work as prostitutes. Typically, the victims were enticed to the United States with false promises of legitimate jobs. At a six-week trial, Murphy crafted a trial strategy that successfully defended attacks on the victims’ credibility.  Murphy also signifi cantly assisted in the prosecution of Bradley Ruderman, a Beverly Hills hedge fund manager who ran a $25 million Ponzi scheme, defrauding his friends and family members. He used their investments to fi nance his lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of two Porsches and running up gambling debts of more than $5 million.  Earlier this year, Ruderman was sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison.  Recently, Murphy worked to obtain indictments against two Desert Hot Springs police offi cers who allegedly committed civil rights violations by using Taser weapons to shock individuals who were handcuffed.

Pretrial Ritual: “I just work 24/7 preparing for the case for months until the trial starts.”

Biggest Career Break: “Getting on the Valenzuela case. It was a fantastic trial opportunity.  It covered areas of the law that hadn’t been completely mapped out yet.”.

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