J. Martin
Team Leader

For over two decades, I have dedicated my career to fighting the systemic injustice found in our...Read more


“Mr. Martin is a well-respected, creative, trial veteran, who has handled the toughest cases all across the State. He is at once – bold, confident and likeable, all at the same time. He is an undaunted, fearless advocate for every client. It has been my pleasure to associate with Mr. Martin on numerous felony cases. ”

Christopher Parkhurst, Attorney, Sacramento, Ca.
  • BA in Economics, with Honors University of Texas, Austin – 1984
  • JD in Law, with Honors Loyola Law School, LA – 1996
Career Summary
  • Started career in 1998, in the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office, then transferred to the Sacramento County Public Defender’s Office in 2001.
  • As a Deputy Public Defender, learned to effectively manage an extremely large work-load, while still taking approximately forty-five (45) cases to jury trials, winning over 80% of those trials, outright, with either an acquittal or a dismissal after a hung jury. In nearly all of the remaining trials, the client received a better offer to resolve the case after trial, than was offered before the trial began.
  • In 2004, entered private practice and founded the Law Office of Jem Martin, which focused on criminal defense. In 2009, while continuing to operate this solo practice, joined the law firm of Earl Carter & Assoc., an eminent State-wide criminal-defense firm. Worked with this firm through 2017, as their Senior Trial Attorney.
  • In private practice, conducted approximately fifty (50) jury trials, winning 2/3 of them. Joined the Innocence Legal Team in 2020
Management Skills

In twenty-three (23) years as a criminal-defense attorney with close to one-hundred jury trials to my credit, I have learned the skills and techniques needed to become a very effective trial attorney, including some of the following:

  • Able to manage large case files with 1000’s of pages of discovery and hours of media to devise a winning case strategy.
  • Thorough understanding of the issues involved in criminal cases so can choose investigators, experts and witnesses needed to put together the best trial team for every client.
  • Acute ability to identify the legal motions and issues, which should be raised before, during and after trial. Excellent at negotiating pre-trial offers with prosecutors.
  • Ability to read people and to evaluate the credibility of witnesses and situations in order to best implement the Defense strategy.
  • Strong trial skills including picking the right jurors for a particular case, examining and cross-examining witnesses, admitting evidence helpful to the defense and making persuasive arguments to the jury to convince them to vote Not Guilty.
  • Have professional relationships with prosecutors, judges and other attorneys in many jurisdictions, so able to capitalize on the local personalities and protocols in most courts as if a local attorney.
  • Experienced with other areas of law, including family and immigration law, so able to advise clients about the collateral consequences in other important areas of their lives, while obtaining the best result in their criminal case.
Career Highlights
  • Yuba County Superior Court (2020) – Client charged with a violation of Penal Code §288.5 (substantial sexual abuse of a child) – Acquittal.
  • Sacramento County Superior Court (2019) – Client charged with a violation of Penal Code §245 (Assault with a Deadly Weapon) causing great-bodily-injury – Jury deadlocked, After trial, Client accepted a deal to resolve his case, which resulted in his release from custody, with credit-for-time-served.
  • Tuolumne County Superior Court (2018) – Client was already a 3-Striker when he was accused of child molestation (Penal Code §288) of his 9-year-old, biological daughter. – Jury deadlocked with ten (10) Not Guilty votes. Client’s exposure before trial was thirty-five (35) years to Life. On the eve of his re-trial, Client pled to 3-years in prison, to avoid the risks of a retrial.
  • Sacramento County Superior Court (2017) – Client was accused of kidnapping (Penal Code §207) and several other minor felony charges. – Acquitted of kidnapping. His exposure before trial was thirty-five (35) years in prison. Client was sentenced, after trial, to an additional year in custody.
  • Sacramento County Superior Court (2016) – Client charged with four (4) counts of child molestation (Penal Code §288) upon his son’s two stepdaughters – Acquitted on all counts.
  • Monterey County Superior Court (2014) – Client was charged with robbery (Penal Code §211) and 1st degree felony-murder for being the get-away driver in the attempted robbery of a Taco Bell in which one of the employees was killed by having his throat slit by one of Client’s co-defendants. – Jury deadlocked with eleven (11) Not Guilty votes. Client was then acquitted at the second trial.
  • Merced County (2013) – Client was charged with child-endangerment, likely to cause death or great bodily injury, death actually occurring (Penal Code §273a(a)), to his live-in girlfriend’s eighteen (18) month-old son – Mandatory twenty-five (25) to Life sentence reversed on appeal. (Public Defender conducted trial – Mr. Martin took over case, after trial)
  • Sacramento County (2012) – Client was only fifteen (15) years-old when he was charged with the attempted murder (Penal Code §§664/187) of an alleged, rival gang member, and negligent discharge of a firearm (Penal Code §246). – Jury deadlocked. Client subsequently accepted a plea-bargain offer, resulting in only a few more years in prison. His exposure was necessarily Life in prison, if he had lost his trial.

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