News Release

Nation's Criminal Defense Bar Mourns Tucson Attorney and NACDL Death Penalty Committee Chair Natman Schaye

Washington, DC (Jan. 31, 2022) - The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) is extremely saddened by the loss of Tucson Attorney and NACDL Death Penalty Committee Chair Natman Schaye. Mr. Schaye passed away Friday, January 28.

“NACDL mourns the loss of our dear friend and respected colleague, Natman Schaye,” said NACDL President Martín Sabelli. “We will, of course, honor Natman’s compassion, commitment, and service when we are all together next for the Midwinter Meeting. His passing reminds us of the need to show our gratitude for each other in the present. Natman’s humor and dedication will be profoundly missed.”

“Fierce, skilled, and relentless advocate, generous and talented mentor to defense attorneys across the country, and loyal and compassionate friend to many in our community, Natman devoted his career to advocating for men and women facing the death penalty,” said NACDL Immediate Past President Chris Adams. “He made tremendous contributions to NACDL - including serving on the Board, chairing committees, authoring numerous amicus briefs - but he was most proud of his work as chair of the Death Penalty Committee where he played a key role in establishing the NACDL partnership with the Colorado Public Defenders and David Wymore to create the Colorado Method National College of Capital Voir Dire that has trained more than 1,000 capital defenders from jurisdictions across the United States. Natman, a senior capital trial counsel at the Arizona Capital Representation Project, helped dozens of capital defense teams avoid death sentences across Arizona and he will be sorely missed by the Arizona and national capital defense community, his colleagues, friends, and family.”

After graduating from University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law in 1981, Natman Schaye embarked on a decades’ long career as a criminal defense attorney specializing in capital defense. He was a fierce opponent of the death penalty, both inside and outside the courtroom, bringing his passion for abolition to the public square and seminar rooms throughout the country. A life member of NACDL, Mr. Schaye served on the association’s Board of Directors during the 1990s and was a longtime chair of NACDL’s Death Penalty Committee.

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Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.