Jeff Light: “Will work for cupcakes”

Attorney Jeff Light (photo by

During the Occubarn hearing and trial, Judge Wingo took plenty of opportunities to praise defense counsel Jeff Light. Several times she seemed to catch herself and include government prosecutor Sean Farrelly as an afterthought, however accomplished an attorney he may be.

She described Light’s motions as “clearly and concisely argued,” “nicely laid out,” and “very nicely written on a complex issue.” After motions for judgment to acquit, she again commended him. “Thank you for clear, concise arguments,” she said. “I really appreciate the quality of work here.”

Before delivering the verdict, the judge said, “I really appreciate the efforts put forward on both sides, raising and thoroughly investigating the issues.”

Farrelly had to meet an onslaught of motions that Light brought at every opportunity, including motions to dismiss based on constitutional issues, challenges to chain of custody, accusations of destruction of evidence (including destruction of the Barn itself), and challenges to the method of Identifying defendants by photograph–which won the acquittal of one.

Light graduated from Georgetown Law School in 2004 and is now a solo practitioner, doing much pro bono work. This trial is his second trial ever. Affiliated with the National Lawyers Guild, most of his practice is devoted to working with activists as a criminal representative when they have been arrested and their rights violated. He also works on transgender rights and represents groups including the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC).

He currently has fifty cases and no paralegal. “I make the photocopies. When there’s a letter to be mailed, I go to the post office,” he said.

His clients in the OccuBarn case gave him a box of cupcakes–his favorite–in gratitude for his services as their attorney.

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