News Release

San Francisco, CA, Lawyer Martín A. Sabelli Installed as First Vice President of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 05, 2019) -- San Francisco, California-based lawyer Martín A. Sabelli was sworn in as First Vice President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA, on August 3.

Sabelli practices in federal and state courts and previously served as a Federal Public Defender, a partner at Winston & Strawn, the Director of Training of the Office of the San Francisco Public Defender, and as a law clerk to the late Honorable Robert F. Peckham, United States District Judge. He taught Latin American History at Yale College and has taught for the National Criminal Defense College since 2001, the Trial Advocacy Workshop of Harvard Law School, the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, and for NACDL. He has also lectured at numerous other criminal defense and public defense programs around the country and abroad. In that regard, Sabelli has lectured extensively on the topics of implicit bias and voir dire as well as implicit bias and policing. He serves on the Board of Regents for the National Criminal Defense College and served as a Lawyer-Representative from the Northern District of California to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sabelli is a life member of NACDL and previously served on the Board of Directors for five years. He was a fundraising Co-Chair for the 2012 Foundation Gala and has been a member on numerous committees including Public Defense, By-Laws, Investment, Ethics Advisory, and Clemency Project Screening. Sabelli also served on the Body Camera Task Force and serves on the Ninth Circuit Lawyers’ Assistance Strike Force and Trial Penalty Recommendation Task Force. He currently serves as Co-Chair of the Sousveillance Committee and the Task Force on Strategic Litigation. This past year, he served as NACDL’s Second Vice President. 

Sabelli served as the Director of the Mexico Program for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and established a Public Defense College in Argentina, which is attended, to date, by defenders from twelve Spanish-speaking countries and Brazil. He regularly lectures on comparative criminal justice issues and trains judges and defenders in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Uruguay, all countries transitioning from inquisitorial to adversarial systems. He has also participated in legal reform efforts in numerous countries including Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Liberia, Mexico, and Tunisia.

Sabelli received his Bachelor's degree in 1985 from Harvard College, where he was a John Harvard Scholar, and his M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1987. Sabelli graduated from Yale Law School in 1990 where he served as Senior Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

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Madeline Sklar, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7647 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 justice system.