News Release

West Palm Beach, Florida Attorney Nellie L. King Installed as President of Nation’s Criminal Defense Bar

Washington, DC (Aug. 15, 2022) – Florida Attorney Nellie L. King was sworn in as the 64th President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the Association's annual meeting in Palm Beach, FL.

The owner of The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida, King exclusively practices criminal defense. Known for her zealous and impassioned advocacy for clients and the community, King has handled many complex, high stakes, and high-profile cases in state and federal courts, including corruption, murder, sex crimes, fraud and white collar investigations, and complex conspiracy cases. She has also served in numerous state and national leadership roles with the aim of reforming the criminal legal system and she lectures nationally on criminal defense and constitutional topics.

In her remarks to the criminal defense bar, members of the judiciary, and state and national leaders, King emphasized the mission of NACDL, which includes identifying and reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal legal system and redressing systemic racism. Criminal defense lawyers “have an obligation to investigate, expose, litigate, lobby, publicize, and eliminate systemic abuses that touch upon the criminal legal system, in whatever form, and via whatever tactic necessary to fight the dilution and tarnishment of the Constitution and the rights of our clients, particularly clients of color and disadvantaged means,” King stated.    

King’s priorities during her tenure include initiatives to address police misconduct and abuses and the lack of transparency and accountability in law enforcement agencies. “We live in a country where law enforcement has become militarized, training has resulted in warriors patrolling the streets, and taking an oath to tell the truth has become optional among some rank and file officers responsible for seeking justice,” King stated.  In order to combat a lack of transparency in law enforcement, King will amplify NACDL’s Full Disclosure Project, an initiative to build open-source software to aggregate and analyze law enforcement misconduct data. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for this project.

During her term, King also vowed to prioritize the legal implications from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, overturning the decades-long precedent of Roe v. Wade. King projects the Dobbs decision will open the floodgates of prosecution of thousands of women, medical providers, and others who assist those seeking access to medical procedures. “This issue is not a political one for our members: it is an issue of overcriminalization, taxing a system already overburdened by mass incarceration initiatives, and the disproportionate impact this decision will once again have on people of color and the poor,” King stated. King committed to train and support attorneys taking on pregnancy-related cases and to mobilize and organize lawyers from all 98 of NACDL’s state and local affiliates in this effort.

King urged members to take up the fight for equality in justice, as her leadership comes “at a critical juncture in the fight against systemic racism, police misconduct, overreach, and brutality, mass incarceration, overcriminalization, woefully underfunded public defense offices, sentencings which penalize the constitutional right to a jury trial, and now, the prosecution of women who choose to exercise their reproductive rights, as well as those that aid in those personal decisions.” 

A Life Member of NACDL, King has served on the Board of Directors and is a past Co-Chair of the Membership Committee and a member of the Executive, Governance, Women in Criminal Defense, Technology Advisory, and Budget Committees. She is also a Trustee of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ).

Locally, King serves on the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission and is an alumnus of Leadership Palm Beach County. She is a Past President of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) and the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (PBACDL). She has received numerous honors in recognition of her work, including the 2022 Harriette S. Glasner Award from the Palm Beach County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLU-FL). King was bestowed the award for her dedication to improving the criminal legal system, fighting for the underserved and defenseless, advocating for open access to public records, and demanding law enforcement transparency and accountability. King is also the recipient of the 2017 Women in Leadership Award, Private Sector from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches. King’s nomination for this award was based, in part, on her efforts to recruit volunteers for Clemency Project 2014, a project supported by NACDL to assist President Barack Obama’s clemency initiative. King received her bachelor's degree from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia and her JD from Nova Southeastern University Law School, where she won the Feinrider Moot Court Competition, as well as various trial advocacy awards, for her oratory skills and courtroom presence.

You can follow along with Nellie King's Presidency here.

A high-resolution picture of Nellie King is available for download here. Photo Credit: © NACDL 2022 |


Jessie Diamond, 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 legal system.

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