Attorney Tom McCormick dies

April 24, 2012

Thomas McCormick courtesy KSBY

Local attorney Thomas Gerald McCormick, who represented criminal defendants in some of this county’s highest profile cases, died Monday in an Arroyo Grande care facility. He was 55.

Details of McCormick’s death were not immediately available although he had been hospitalized recently and was in failing health. Word of his passing circulated through local legal circles Tuesday morning.

Fellow attorney and longtime friend Ron Crawford recalled a major case where he and McCormick were representing a group at the California Mens’ Colony, and the gang member defendants gave McCormick the nickname “Don Ho.”

“He was a kind and generous man,” said Crawford. “We had a lot of good times together. He was Irish and lived up to the reputation. He always stepped up when he was needed. I’m very sad to see him go. He was very well respected by the local judges, and he will be missed.

McCormick most recently represented Kaylee Ann Weisenberg in her second-degree murder trial for driving the vehicle which struck and killed CHP Officer Brett Oswald in June 2010. Weisenberg was eventually convicted. McCormick also was one of the attorneys in the ongoing Dystiny Meyers murder trial, representing defendant Rhonda Wisto.

He handled many cases for the San Luis Obispo County Public Defenders’ Office.

McCormick graduated from California State University at Chico and earned his law degree from the University of San Francisco. He was admitted to the California Bar in 1985 and practiced his whole career in San Luis Obispo County.

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God Bless him.. Short life..

“McCormick was noted to be shaking during trial”

I don’t think people can grasp how very stressful it is to be standing in front of a jury with someone’s life on the line– be it freedom, family or significant finances. How many of us could do it? Is shaking an indication that he was taking the situation seriously?

I recently saw a civil trial with a defense attorney that had 150 jury trials under his belt. He has all of the trial bar’s top designations and accolades. He was shaking, and his voice was quivering. He did a great job–and he lost.

Tom took his job seriously, and he was a good man.

By the way: it is rumored that Barbara Streisand doesn’t go on stage until she throws up.

The difference is that McCormick has defended many high profile defendants in the past including those who faced life in prison or worse. He isn’t known as a man who shakes during trials which is why a big deal was made about it in his last big case (Weinsenberg). If he did it at every high profile trial, it would be a different story but he didn’t. When this was brought up to the judge during the initial appeal, the judge did not state that this was a common occurrence with McCormick because it wasn’t, the judge rather simply said that in this instance, it was probably due to the media attention while dismissing other possibilities.

Had some good times with Tom back in the early 90’s. Sad to see him pass. Rest in Peace Tom.

WTF, how was she defending anyone, who was she defending? I think that you must have misread her post.

My condolences to Mr. McCormick’s family.

R.I.P. You were a nice guy, Mr. McCormick . . .

McCormick was noted to be shaking during the Weisenberg trial. The appeal attorney even suggested that he was drinking and it was also mentioned that he never visited Weisenberg to interview her prior to trial. I wonder if he was in such poor health that he was simply unable to mount a proper defense, no doubt the shaking was probably a symptom of his ill health. One thing for certain is that she got railroaded by the DA big time. I wonder how his passing so soon after the trial will effect the appeal process?

Rest in peace Attorney McCormick and my condolences to your family, friends and those who loved you.

My thoughts entirely. Mr. McCormick may have been in ill health during the trial. His failure to have an independent crash analysis report ready for a trial about a car accident is a good indication that he was not in his best form.