Kelly Martin


Kelly Martin is a Legal Editor 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

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.
Recording the Police: Legal?
Do you have the right to record police officers doing their job?
The Crime of Swatting: Laws and Penalties
Swatting isn't just a prank—it's a serious crime that could lead to prison time.
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.
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.
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.
SCOTUS: Police Can’t Be Sued for Not Reading Miranda Rights
The Supreme Court has decided whether police can be sued for Miranda violations.
SCOTUS: Second Amendment Allows People to Carry Handguns in Public for Self-Defense
On June 23, 2022, the United States Supreme Court struck down a New York law that restricted carrying handguns in public. The ruling has significant implications for the Second Amendment and gun laws throughout the country.
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.
Arson Charges and Penalties
Learn about arson crimes and some of the possible penalties.