Kelly Martin

Attorney · Golden Gate University School of Law

Kelly Martin is a contributing writer for Nolo with a focus on criminal law. She writes for several sites, including,, and

Education. Kelly earned her J.D. at Golden Gate University School of Law, which she attended on a merit scholarship. She graduated in 2005 in the top 5% of her class with Highest Honors and received several awards for academic achievement.

Legal experiences. Kelly has been a licensed attorney since 2005. After working at the trial level for two years, she began representing indigent defendants in the California Court of Appeal and soon established a full-time criminal defense appellate practice. In addition to maintaining that practice, she spent two years at the Office of the State Public Defender, representing defendants on appeal in capital cases. She has also taught several semesters as an adjunct professor of legal writing and appellate advocacy at Golden Gate University School of Law. She continues to handle criminal appeals for defendants in California who can't afford lawyers.

Nolo. Kelly started at Nolo in 2022. She was inspired by Nolo’s mission to educate the public about laws that affect us all and is honored to be able to contribute to that work.

Other pursuits. Kelly enjoys road cycling (despite the spandex) and can often be found riding in the Napa Valley. This activity balances out her love of cooking and her enthusiasm for sitting around with a good novel and a lap cat.

Articles By Kelly Martin

Understanding the New York Criminal Case Against Former President Trump
Learn how the hush money case against Trump in New York is proceeding through trial.
What Is a Chain of Custody for Evidence?
Chain of custody typically refers to the foundation the prosecution needs to establish for certain types of exhibits to be admitted into evidence.
Federal Sentencing Reform: What Is the First Step Act?
The First Step Act reduced sentences for some people who are still serving prison time, shortened sentences for some new convictions, and allows early release for some inmates.
How Should I Plead at Arraignment?
At some point in the early stages of criminal proceedings, whether at the first court appearance or a later arraignment, judges ask defendants how they choose to plead.
Recording the Police: Legal?
Do you have the right to record police officers doing their job?
Domestic Violence and Domestic Abuse: Crimes, Penalties, and Resources
Domestic violence can include threatening, pushing, or more serious assaults, and can land the abuser behind bars.
The Differences Between Robbery and Burglary
Some use the term “robbery” when a “burglary” has happened, and vice versa. The words actually refer to different crimes, with their own legal definitions and penalties.
Is Phrogging or Squatting a Crime?
Whether it's called phrogging or squatting, living in someone's home without permission can lead to serious consequences.
The Right to Carry a Gun in Public
The Supreme Court says the Second Amendment allows the average citizen to carry a handgun in public for self-protection. Though states can limit concealed-carry permits to people who meet certain criteria, they can’t limit permits to people who have a special reason for carrying a handgun in public.
The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining
For most defendants, the principal benefit to plea bargaining is receiving a lighter sentence for a less severe charge than might result from a conviction at trial.