Melissa Lewkowicz is a successful Criminal Defense attorney and Reality TV personality currently starring on the new hit series, “Reasonable Doubt”, on Investigation Discovery (ID). On the nail-biting, fascinating show, with extensive critical acclaim and great ratings, Melissa works with retired homicide detective, Chris Anderson, to re-examine real-life murder cases.
With over a decade of experience in criminal law, Los Angeles-based Lewkowicz currently serves as a Partner at the Law Offices of Chester & Lewkowicz. Specializing in Criminal Defense, she works zealously to defend clients who have been accused of misdemeanor and felony offenses, ranging from DUI’s to homicide. Melissa is also a board member of Face Forward and has volunteered assisting victims of Domestic Violence with the Domestic Violence Project, and is admitted to practice law in California, New York, and New Jersey. In 2017, “Super Lawyers” called Melissa Lewkowicz a “Rising Star” as one of their “Top Rated Criminal Defense Attorneys in Los Angeles.”
With countless news stories of overturned convictions and mistrials, and relentless pleas of innocence from inside prisons, a single question haunts every convict’s family: did they really do it? The search for answers is the central focus of ID’s newest series, REASONABLE DOUBT, profiling the gut-wrenching process of reopening a closed case to evaluate findings and either offer the convicted’ s family hope for an appeal, or confirm the dark truth that their loved one really is guilty of the most unforgivable crime. To uncover the potentially life-changing truth, two determined investigators approach these controversial cases from two distinctly different perspectives.
We asked Mellissa Lewkowicz a few questions about her definition of beauty and her background as a lawyer! Check out her answers below!
How do you define beauty?
Beauty fades. Focus on what doesn’t.
What was your reaction to being approached about hosting ID’s new show, “Reasonable Doubt”?
I’ve been working in the trenches for over 10 years. My home away from home is the Los Angeles Courthouse and the jails beneath it. I have personally witnessed grave injustices and the pain they cause. The family members of the convicted are the silent victims and make no mistake, their pain is very real. I agreed to do this project because it was a chance to effectuate great change. Reasonable Doubt taps into the very pain I experience, defending the accused, on a daily basis. These families are reaching out to Chris and me as their last hope. They are begging us to help them get their side of the story heard; the untold story. From the beginning, I knew this would be more than a T.V. show. Reasonable Doubt goes beyond helping free the wrongly convicted. It helps free their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and gives them a chance to speak and make peace with the horrific tragedy that effected their lives, too. As I see it, when a life’s been taken, there is enough pain to go around.
Do you feel your career as a criminal defense lawyer has prepared you for appearances on TV?
I would hope that my work as criminal defense attorney, orating in front of judges, lawyers and jurors for over a decade, combined with my personal life experiences, has prepared me for anything that comes my way.
What initially provoked you to begin studying law?
As a first generation American, I was raised by my entire family – and everyone had a piece of advice. Their strongest, most compelling of which was, “education is something nobody can ever take away from you.” Even though my father barely finished high school, my parents stressed the value of education over anything else. Every Friday night, my mother would invite our whole family and friends, who we considered family, to share a meal. Ira Chester, my law partner at Chester & Lewkowicz, LLP., went to high school with my mother and would come to our dinners. He would regale us with stories as a criminal defense attorney. He sounded like a superhero curing the world of all its injustice. I was just a child, but already know what I wanted to do: I wanted to be a superhero too.
How do you ensure you stay emotionally detached from a case?
What do you think, in your professional opinion, is the reason for wrongful convictions?
Each case seems to present different reasons – which are not always nefarious. Sometimes it is bad lawyering or prosecutorial/police misconduct, but other times it can hinge on a single eye-witness’ misidentification.
How is it working with Chris Anderson? Do you find your tactics are similar?
Working alongside a police officer was incredible. Working alongside Chris Anderson was exceptional. While we come from different professional hemispheres, we come together on and off set because we think alike. We see the world the same way. We see the people we meet the same way and we see the potential magnitude of a show like Reasonable Doubt the same way. We both want the same thing. We are both looking to promote justice by exposing the raw truth – and we hope our blended individual skillsets can do just that.
Do you see yourself staying with criminal justice, or is there another field of law you would venture to in the future?
Criminal law is my calling. I will always answer.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“You can sleep when you’re dead.”