Meet Your Attorney: Kerry L. Armstrong
What inspired you to become a lawyer?
My dad was a land developer in Middle Tennessee, and he got sued a couple
of times when I was a kid. He always wanted me to become an attorney so
I could help him out and protect his business. Most kids do not want to
become what their parents want, but being an attorney actually sounded
interesting to me.
However, I was always fascinated with crime and knew that I wanted to go
into criminal law and not civil law. I knew since seventh grade that I
was going to become an attorney. At one time, I wanted to go into politics,
but I eventually became disinterested in that when I got to college and
saw how corrupt our political system is.
Why did you decide on criminal defense?
Like I said above, I have always been fascinated by crime, even in elementary
school. It intrigues me regarding why people do the things they do, especially
in the criminal world. Before I began law school, I contemplated becoming
a prosecutor. However, working for a criminal defense attorney in law
school changed my feelings on that. I very quickly saw how mistreated
defendants are in the criminal justice field, and I wanted to help them.
It is interesting to me how cell phone cameras are currently changing our
country's feelings toward the police and the criminal justice system.
Ten years ago, most of the country thought that the police are always
right and make correct decisions. But in the past couple of years it seems
that police brutality videos are released almost daily, and they show
just how violent and disrespectful police officers can be to people. It
really bothers me when police officers act that way, and I want to help
people who are victims of officers' brutality or disrespect.
Are you known for a particular skill or specialty?
Yes, I definitely focus on sex crimes to a large degree. They are by far
the hardest to defend (even harder than murder), but the challenge is
Is there a past case you handled that you are particularly proud of?
I think the biggest success I ever had was on a thirty-eight-count child
molest/rape case that I defended in late 2012. The client was looking
at 348-to-life, which is almost impossible to even comprehend. The jury
voted not-guilty on all thirty-eight counts and the client got to go home
and try to reassemble his life.
A close second was a first-degree murder, robbery, and conspiracy trial
that I won in 2005. The client was potentially looking at the death penalty,
but the District Attorney's Office decided not to seek death. It was
still an amazing feeling to acquit the defendant on a life case.
What do you most enjoy about your job?
I enjoy helping the "underdog," and that is what my clients are.
Even if they are successful people with a lot of money, they still are
the underdog in the criminal justice system. The District Attorney's
Office has virtually unlimited assets to prosecute cases, and it is often
very hard to defend a case against an entity with unlimited money.
Although "winning" a case is often just getting the best plea-bargain
possible, it is rewarding to save someone's life, save their job,
save them from having to register as a sex offender, or even saving them
from a large fine.
What sets your firm apart from the rest?
I am very picky about who I hire, especially the attorneys who work for
me. My two current associates are not only very good and dedicated attorneys,
but they are my close friends as well. I get rid of employees who do not
care about clients or who cut corners in their work.
I truly believe that all three of us attorneys in the firm really care
about our clients, even the ones who give us problems at times. We all
understand that when clients hire our firm, they are probably going through
the worst time in their lives. They are very scared, apprehensive about
the criminal justice system, and often even angry about their situation.
All three of us work very hard to make sure that the client gets through
the system with the least possible punishment or penalties.