Seth P. Chazin has been a criminal defense attorney in the San Francisco/Bay Area for over 30 years and has been certified by the California State Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist since 2001. He has defended thousands of clients in Federal, State and Juvenile courts throughout California, and in several Federal District Courts throughout the United States, facing felony and misdemeanor charges for all types of criminal offenses including capital murder and other homicide cases, complex white collar crimes and sex crimes. He has a particular specialization in representing individuals in sex offense-related cases, trying numerous cases involving serious sex offenses while obtaining acquittals or a misdemeanor conviction in all but one case.
Mr. Chazin began his career as a Deputy Public Defender. He then moved on to work as a Deputy State Public Defender in San Francisco where, along with a colleague, successfully investigated and presented the actual innocence claim of a client on death row for the alleged double murder of a mother and her young son in the Los Angeles area. After numerous appeals and writs over the course of more than 30 years, the death sentence was vacated by the California Supreme Court in 2007, and the client was finally released from custody in 2019 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the verdict of guilt based on the likelihood that the client did not commit the murders for which he was convicted. This client is one of only five innocent people that have ever been freed from California’s Death Row.
Following his work in the State Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Chazin entered private practice, working at a large criminal defense firm for seven years until he started his own firm in 2003. Since starting his own firm, Mr. Chazin has served on the CJA Trial Panel for the Northern District of California at various times since 2003. In that capacity, he tried one of the first (if not the first) MS-13 gang cases to go to trial on the west coast. Despite, the fear-inducing negative publicity surrounding MS-13, his client was acquitted of all charges following the assertion of an entrapment defense based on the importuning of a government snitch.
Mr. Chazin has also assisted clients for over 30 years in various post-conviction matters including the filing of numerous appeals and writs on behalf of clients in the Ninth Circuit and in various California Courts of Appeal, and has represented clients in parole violation and parole lifer hearings.
Mr. Chazin was a member of the Board of Governors of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) from 2014 until he termed out a few months ago, maintaining an active presence on CACJ’s Legislative Committee for more than 5 years while lobbying state legislators on behalf of CACJ concerning issues and proposed bills that affect the accused. Mr. Chazin is also the current Acting-President and a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, which has been at the forefront of promoting the application of international human rights laws and treaties in US domestic legal matters.
With regard to pro bono service in the legal profession, Mr. Chazin has represented numerous political protesters who were arrested and facing criminal charges since the 1990’s. These clients have included the Wheeler 69 (protesting against the government’s involvement in the Iraq War in 2003), the Oscar Grant protesters, the KPFA/Pacifica Radio strike protesters and others.
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