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Attorney Advisor



Ms. Kate Coyne, as the DSO Attorney Advisor, reports directly to the Chief Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps (CDC) and provides expertise on criminal justice litigation with a focus on the defense of sexual assault cases and similarly-complex cases. Ms. Coyne's primary function is to develop and implement training, resources, materials, and standard operating procedures for the effective and ethical defense of courts-martial, including pre-trial investigation, interview techniques, case management, trial advocacy, post-trial responsibilities, use of case management and trial presentation software, methods for dealing with complainants and victim advocates, and the Department of the Navy Rules of Professional Conduct. Ms. Coyne also provides case-specific advice to DSO judge advocates and legal services specialists litigating or preparing to litigate complex cases.

Kathleen Coyne is a 1982 graduate of Temple University School of Law, and is admitted to practice in California, Pennsylvania and Florida.  She practiced as a public defender in San Diego, Philadelphia, New York and as a Federal Defender for over 30 years.  She is currently the Attorney Advisor (AA) for the Marine Corps Defense Services Organization where she consults on sexual assault and complex cases, conducts training, and develops resources for the DCAP.

Ms Coyne is the recipient of the  1993 Public Defender of the Year by the California Public Defender's Association and was honored as Trial Attorney of the Year by the Criminal Defense Bar Association of San Diego County, as well as being the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice's  Skip Glenn Award recipient "for extraordinary accomplishments by a young defense lawyer"; and the winner of the Defender Organizations of San Diego County's  E. Stanley Conant Award for "efforts to protect the rights of the indigent accused."   In 2006, Ms. Coyne was the first public defender ever to be honored as the San Diego Daily Transcript  San Diego County Top Attorneys—Municipal & Government.  She was the only public defender elected San Diego Super Lawyers, 2008, 2009. She has been recognized in federal (9th Circuit) and California state appeals courts as an expert in the area of competent representation and ineffective assistance of counsel in sexual assault cases under Strickland v. Washington, (1984) 466 U.S. 668.

Her work has been covered in both the local and national press and featured in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, National Review, Newsweek, California Lawyer, California Defender, London Sunday Times,  and  People.  She has appeared on Primetime Live, Justice Files, American Justice, Inside Edition, KPBS Radio and Phil Donahue.

She has lectured in the area of insanity, mental defenses to homicide, use of psychological experts, eyewitness identification issues, ethics, child witness testimony, childhood suggestibility, working effectively with experts, cross examination of prosecution experts, use of syndrome evidence and investigation of complex child abuse cases.

Educational and Professional Background

Member California Bar                           1988

Admitted Pennsylvania Bar                    1982

Admitted Florida Bar                              1983

Admitted to United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Admitted to United States District Court, Southern District of California

Temple University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1982

Case Western Reserve University, Bachelor of Arts in History and English, 1979




Marine Corps Defense Services Organization