News Release

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

Washington, DC (Aug. 18, 2020) – San Francisco, California, lawyer Martín A. Sabelli was sworn in as President-Elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting held on August 15, 2020.

Sabelli practices in federal and state courts and previously served as a Federal Public Defender, a partner at Winston & Strawn, the Director of Training for 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, teaches regularly for NACDL and the National Criminal Defense College, and has taught for many trial advocacy programs including the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He often lectures about, and trains defense counsel on, criminal defense and constitutional issues including jury selection, cross examination, and racism and implicit bias generally and, in particular, on race conscious jury selection. He serves on the Board of Regents for the National Criminal Defense College and has 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 received NACDL’s 2019 Champion of Justice Legal Award, and he currently serves on NACDL’s Body Camera, Budget, Ethics Advisory, Executive, and Public Defense Committees. He is the Co-Chair of the Sousveillance Task Force and a member of the Criminal Court Reopening, Insider Trading, and Element of Consent in Sexual Assault Prosecutions Task Forces. Sabelli is also the Ninth Circuit Representative to NACDL’s Lawyers Assistance Strike Force and previously served as Co-Chair of the Trial Penalty Recommendation Task Force. This past year, he served as NACDL’s First Vice President.

Sabelli served as the Director of the Mexico Program for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and, in 2013, he established an annual criminal defense college, based in Argentina, for defenders across Latin America. 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.


Madeline Sklar, Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (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.

Explore keywords to find information

Featured Products