A natural leader with a quick intellect, Andrew Jezic has emerged in recent years as one of Maryland's most effective and successful criminal defense attorneys. The firm he founded - 15-lawyer Jezic & Moyse, based in Wheaton - likely has the broadest and strongest criminal-defense and civil-trial practice in Montgomery County today; the firm represents a mix of blue- and white-collar defendants, including those for whom English is a second language. Rival lawyers are impressed by Jezic's remarkable rise - and by the firm's strong reputation for representing clients of such cultural variety, a huge strength for any professional in America today. (As a firm, they speak no fewer than eight languages, including Arabic.) Himself fluent in Spanish, Jezic remains a hands-on practitioner, in court regularly and managing an array of cases - he's tried more than 85 cases to a jury, defending clients against charges of major felonies, including murder and armed robbery. Moreover, Jezic is a former prosecutor and civil trial lawyer, bringing perspective rare for a lawyer who, at 48, is still relatively early in his career.
Jezic grew up in the northern Baltimore suburb of Lutherville; his father Dragan Jezic was a prominent radiologist at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Jezic's mother, Diane Peacock Jezic, was a well known classical pianist and Towson University music professor who died of cancer when Jezic was only 21. "She set a great example to me when I was growing up; she had a passion for music - and defending personal rights and freedoms. I always know where I got my sense of fairness and justice from." Jezic enrolled at Georgetown University where he was a member of the school's Debating Society. He progressed from debating political issues to law school, but took a year in Alicante, Spain to immerse himself in Spanish language and culture, and later studied German in Cologne. "My father spoke five languages - that will make you feel a little inadequate." says Jezic. Even in law school Jezic was involved in Maryland politics, managing a 1992 congressional campaign. He won a prized clerkship with the colorful Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Elsbeth Levy Bothe, a onetime president of the Maryland chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. After the clerkship, Jezic went to work with Anne Arundel County as an Assistant State's Attorney. After nearly four years there, he took a position with Montgomery County State's Attorney Douglas Gansler, prosecuting a range of cases for just under eight years. He later joined well known personal injury lawyer Patrick Regan. The transition -- from prosecutor to personal injury lawyer to defense attorney -- was hardly difficult: "In every case I was there to help someone, to help a victim." Defending criminal cases, he discovered that many of his clients were solid people, who'd had a bad moment and suddenly found themselves in trouble: People who had left the scene of an accident or undocumented workers convinced they'd be deported because of a DUI. With his language skills, Jezic could easily communicate with a clientele that was heavy with non-English speakers, and his natural charisma and openness contributed to his effectiveness as a lawyer: He can convince juries to like his clients as much as he does, peers say, and not to make life any harder for someone already in a jam and "not make things worse." He is the co-author of a classic legal volume: Maryland Law of Confessions, which is currently 1400 pages in its 9th Edition.
Now having participated in over 85 jury trials, Jezic is a sought-after speaker, and frequently gives seminars on criminal law, even to police organizations. Frequently Jezic will work a case pro bono if appeals courts rule against a client he believes in. In 2008 and 2012, Jezic received international acclaim for his defense of a U.S. Army Ranger, Sgt. Gary Smith, who had been convicted of killing a fellow ranger. Jezic claimed that the victim suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and took his own life. An appeals court later ordered a new trial, determining that the trial judge had incorrectly excluded evidence about the victim's alleged state of depression. That success "meant the world to me. It confirmed that the passion and focus I bring to my work - to all my clients - really can help change the course of their lives."