J. Michael "Mickey" Haller, Jr (b. 1965) is the son of J. Michael Haller and a Latin actress, the half-brother of LAPD detective Harry Bosch, the ex-husband of Maggie McPherson, and the father of Hayley Haller. Like his father, he is a criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles, and is a staunch opponent of the death penalty, claiming that "an enlightened society [does] not kill its own."
He also has three sisters, and another half-brother. He attended his father's funeral at Forest Lawn in 1970 with his sisters, and is significantly younger than his half-brother, Bosch. While Bosch was an adult upon meeting their father, Mickey was only five years old when the elder Haller died. Little is known of Haller's childhood other than the death of his father at a young age, and his inheritance of his father's Colt Woodsman .22 pistol.
In 1992, Haller represented Barnett Woodson, and won acquittal in a case against prosecutor Jerry Vincent, who subsequently left the District Attorney's office to open his own defense practice. In 1993, he represented Raynard Waits, negotiating a plea agreement that gave his client an eighteen month probation sentence. Later in the year, Haller married prosecutor Margaret McPherson, and in 1995, he left the Public Defender's office to open his own private defense firm. He and McPherson had a daughter, Hayley Haller, in 1997, but subsequently divorced in 2001 while remaining amicable. In the wake of his divorce, Haller married his own case manager, Lorna Taylor, but that marriage ended quickly as well when the two divorced in 2002.
Haller has employed the servies of two private investigators for his trials. The first, Raul "Mish" Levin was murdered in April of 2005; his nickname "Mish" was bestowed upon him by Haller after Haller learned of his mixed Mexican-Jewish ancestry. His second investigator, Dennis "Cisco" Wojciechowski, was hired after Levin's death, and dated Lorna for a year before proposing to her in November of 2007.
In 2003, Haller represented Jesus Menendez after Menendez was arrested for the rape and murder of stripper Martha Renteria. Haller convinced Menendez to accept a plea deal that would incarcerate him for life in order to prevent the prosecution from seeking the death penalty, and Menendez eventually agreed despite insisting on his innocence.
In March of 2005, Haller represented Louis Roulet after Roulet was arrested for the attempted rape and murder of escort Regina Campo. In the process of investigating the case in order to build Roulet's defense, Haller discovered aspects related to the Menendez case, and Haller's private investigator Raul Levin found evidence that linked Roulet to Renteria. Levin was murdered before he was able to pass the evidence on to Haller, who continued on with Roulet's defense according to a strategy designed by himself and Levin.
After exposing that one of prosecutor Ted Minton's witnesses, a jailhouse snitch, was lying on the stand, Haller succeeded in obtaining an acquittal from the judge for prosecutorial malfeasance. The witness, however, claimed that Roulet had mentioned details that were later linked to the Renteria murder, and Roulet was arrested by detective Howard Kurlen. Later that night, Haller was shot in his home by Roulet's mother, who Haller managed to shoot and kill as detectives arrived. Menendez was subsquently released from San Quentin State Prison, and sued Haller for legal malpractice.
Haller suffered a hernia as a result of his gunshot wound, and underwent surgery to correct the protrusion. The surgery went poorly, however, and Haller successfully sued the hospital for medical malpractice. Following his surgery, he became addicted to OxyContin, and eventually checked into the Laurel Canyon Recovery Center in 2006 to kick his habit.
In November of 2007, Haller was summoned to the chambers of Judge Holder and informed that fellow criminal defense attorney Jerry Vincent had been murdered, and that Haller had thereby inherited Vincent's law practice, which amounted to 31 clients including film producer Walter Elliot.
In September of 2009, Haller was contacted by Harry Bosch to serve as the detective's personal lawyer when investigators with the Hong Kong Police Force questioned him about the shooting of Eleanor Wish at the Chungking Mansions and the murder of the Qingcai family. He later suggested that Hayley and Madeline should meet, but Bosch stalled on the proposition.
On 9 February 2010, Haller was approached by Gabriel Williams and offered the opportunity to prosecute recently-released Jason Jessup in a retrial for the 1986 murder of 12-year-old Melissa Landy. Haller accepted the job on the condition that McPherson serve as his second chair (and that McPherson get transferred from the courthouse in Van Nuys to the District Attorney's office downtown in Jessup was reconvicted) and LAPD detective Harry Bosch serve as his investigator.
In February of 2011, Haller represented Lisa Trammel after she was arrested for the murder of banker Mitchell Bondurant. In April of 2011, Haller filed to run for the office of District Attorney of Los Angeles, but in 2012, he lost "in scandal and self-destruction" when a former client, who had previously escaped a DUI charge under Haller's representation, killed two pedestrians. He later sought out his father's former law partner and strategist, David Siegel.
In later 2013, Haller was contacted by Andre La Cosse, who was accused of murdering a high-end escort, and accepted the case when he discovered that the murder victim was his own former repeat client Gloria Dayton.
Connelly based Haller largely on Gainesville, Florida defense attorney Daniel F. Daly (who lent his name to a character in the Haller novels), with whom Connelly graduated from the University of Florida's journalism program before Daly began praticing law.
Daly actually told Connelly that "there is no client as scary as an innocent man," and the line became the epigraph (attributed to J. Michael Haller) of the Lincoln Lawyer. Haller's work method was based on a conversation that Connelly had with attorney David Ogden at Dodger Stadium, who worked out of the backseat of his car with a client as a driver.