News Release

Nevada Federal Public Defender Rene L. Valladares Honored by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Washington, DC (Oct. 23) – Attorney Rene L. Valladares, Federal Public Defender for the District of Nevada, was presented the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) Champion of Justice Legal Education Award at the association’s 2023 Redemption Gala. Champion of Justice Awards are bestowed upon those individuals who – through legislative, journalistic, philanthropic, or humanitarian pursuits – have staunchly preserved or defended the constitutional rights of individuals in the United States and have endeavored to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime.

Valladares has been the Federal Public Defender for the District of Nevada since 2011. He is an adjunct professor at the UNLV Boyd School of Law. Rene lecturers nationally on all aspects of federal evidence. He also serves on the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules and the Federal Defenders’ Death Penalty Working Group. Rene is the author of the bestseller A Defender’s Guide to Federal Evidence published by NACDL Press, the only federal evidence handbook written exclusively for criminal defense lawyers. All book royalties go toward supporting criminal justice reform through the work of NACDL’s Foundation for Criminal Justice.

“The district of Nevada when Rene took over was gifted the commitment, intellect, and very large vision of a man that they could not have realized would do the great things that he would do, not only for that district, but for our country,” said Juval Scott, Director of the National Sentencing Resource Counsel. “Rene is resilient, he is relentless, and he is remarkable.” Speaking about his commitment to supporting lawyers of color she said, “It is lovely that you have written a book, and it is beautiful that you run an office, and it is amazing that you educate young minds at UNLV, but it is perhaps even more inspiring that you take the time away from your family, away from your interests, so that you can ensure that each and every one us, people who look like me, people who look like us, are able to thrive in this system.”

“For all those of you who are criminal defense lawyers, thanks for everything you do,” said Valladares. “Thanks for fighting so hard for your clients. Thanks for standing up to prosecutors that are simply looking at your client as a steppingstone… Thanks for visiting your clients in those hellholes that are called jails, and thank you for comforting the families of clients that get backbreaking sentences.”


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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