F. Lee Bailey

American criminal defense attorney (1933–2021)

Francis Lee Bailey Jr., commonly referred to as F. Lee Bailey, (born June 10, 1933 – June 3, 2021) is a famed American defense attorney. He is well-known for his penchant for seeking out the media, as well as the high-profile cases he has been involved in.

Bailey in 1993


  • Can any of you seriously say the Bill of Rights could get through Congress today? It wouldn’t even get out of committee.
    • Newsweek, 17 April 1967.
  • The defendant in a courtroom is little more than a patient on an operating table without the benefit of anaesthesia. He has to watch what's happening, but he can't do anything about it. He hasn't the understanding of the law, the ability to try cases or any of the other skills required of his lawyer. So the lawyer is a projection of the defendant. He's doing everything the defendant would do if he were able—short of suborning perjury and other nonpermissible tactics.
    • Playboy, August 1967.
  • Those who think the information brought out at a criminal trial is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth are fools. Prosecuting or defending a case is nothing more than getting to those people who will talk for your side, who will say what you want said.
    • New York Times, 20 September 1970.
  • I use the rules to frustrate the law. But I didn’t set up the ground rules.
    • New York Times, 20 September 1970.
  • I get paid for seeing that my clients have every break the law allows. I have knowingly defended a number of guilty men. But the guilty never escape unscathed. My fees are sufficient punishment for anyone.
    • Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1972.
  • The public regards lawyers with great distrust. They think lawyers are smarter than the average guy but use their intelligence deviously. Well, they're wrong. Usually they are not smarter.
    • Los Angeles Times, January 9, 1972.
Wikipedia has an article about:
  • "F. Lee Bailey", in Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, compiled by James B. Simpson, 1988.