Jonathan Marshall Brayman is a partner with Breen & Pugh and the son of acclaimed Chicago criminal defense attorney Paul Brayman. His practice focuses on criminal defense, Section 1983 civil rights actions, class actions, and asset forfeiture defense.
Since joining Breen & Pugh, Brayman has helped win numerous acquittals including clients charged with murder, home invasion, armed robbery, sexual assault, kidnapping, bribery, aggravated battery, felony disorderly conduct (false bomb threat, false police report), criminal disposal of hazardous waste, DUI, and various narcotics and weapons offenses. Brayman helped obtain outright acquittals in his first jury trial (February 2011) and in his first murder trial (November 2011). Brayman has also distinguished himself as an appellate lawyer, helping to create favorable precedent recognizing greater protections for citizens from unreasonable searches of their homes, and winning outright reversals and new trials for clients leading to their release from prison. See, e.g., People v. Melchor Lopez, 2016 IL App (1st) 142071-U; People v. Michael Cacini, 2015 IL App (1st) 130135; People v. Juan Rojas, 2013 IL App (1st) 113780, appeal denied, 3 N.E. 3d 800 (Ill. 2014).
Brayman currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and is a proud member of the Chicago Inn of Court. He also serves on the Justice Council for Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice’s Forms Committee for Civil Asset Forfeiture.
Brayman served as one of the lead attorneys who represented a Chicago man exonerated after serving 20 years of false imprisonment in a Section 1983 wrongful conviction case against the City of Chicago and two former Area 3 CPD Detectives.
Before joining Breen & Pugh, Brayman worked with the Law Offices of Thomas Peters, where he litigated Section 1983 civil rights cases. He served as class counsel to tens of thousands of class members in numerous civil rights class actions successfully challenging the unconstitutional policies and practices of the City of Chicago and winning settlements that included wide-ranging injunctive and monetary relief (more than $7M). See Gates v. City of Chicago, 623 F.3d 389 (7th Cir. 2011); Smith v. City of Chicago, 365 Fed. Appx. 20 (7th Cir. 2010); Kennedy v. City of Chicago, No. 06 CV 4914, 2007 WL 4553040 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 18, 2007) (Darrah, J.).
Brayman graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2010 with the Willard L. Boyd Public Service Award (Highest Honors). He was named the 2009-2010 Ramza-Fester “Rainbow Rights” Scholar; an award given to a student with exemplary service in helping to advance the rights of individuals in the LGBT community through community outreach, legal advocacy, and scholarship.
Prior to graduating from law school, Brayman’s experience included helping to win a new trial for a man sentenced to death by a federal jury in Louisiana. See United States v. John Johnson, 713 F. Supp. 2d 595 (E.D. La. May 18, 2010) (Berrigan, J.). Brayman also worked for federal district court judges in Chicago and in New Orleans (2009). While at the University of Iowa College of Law, Brayman worked as a research assistant to Professor Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a prominent critical race theorist and employment law scholar (2008-10). He represented his class on the law school’s student government and on the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students (ECGPS). Brayman served as a student writer and contributing member to The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice. Also during law school, Brayman clerked in the Chicago office of the Federal Defender Program and studied abroad in the Greek Isles, though Tulane University Law School.
Before beginning law school, Brayman worked with Rick Halprin and Susan Shatz on the defense team for Joey Lombardo in the historic Chicago Outfit “Family Secrets” trial (2007). See United States v. Calabrese et al., 490 F.3d 575 (7th Cir. 2007). During that trial, Brayman quickly struck up a friendship with Tom Breen, who was the lead attorney for Lombardo’s co-defendant Jimmy Marcello. Brayman greatly admired Breen’s ability in the courtroom, especially Breen’s cross-examination of the government’s star witness, Outfit hitman and turncoat Nick Calabrese. Brayman joined Breen & Pugh in 2011 to practice full-time with Breen and his younger partner Todd Pugh.
Admitted to practice in the following courts
- Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- Northern District of Illinois
- Supreme Court of Illinois
- Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
Bar associations and organizations
- Chicago Inn of Court
- Chicago Bar Association
- Federal Bar Association
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Women’s Criminal Defense Bar Association
- Justice Council of the Center on Wrongful Convictions
Areas of Practice
- Trial & Appellate Practice
- Criminal Defense
- Civil Rights
- Wrongful Convictions
- Class Actions
- Asset Forfeiture Defense