Seth P. Chazin has been a criminal defense attorney in the San Francisco/Bay Area for over 30 years and has been certified by the California State Board of Legal Specialization as a Certified Criminal Law Specialist since 2001. He has defended thousands of clients in Federal, State and Juvenile courts throughout California, and in several Federal District Courts throughout the United States, facing felony and misdemeanor charges for all types of criminal offenses including capital murder and other homicide cases, complex white collar crimes and sex crimes. He has a particular specialization in representing individuals in sex offense-related cases, trying numerous cases involving serious sex offenses while obtaining acquittals or a misdemeanor conviction in all but one case.
Mr. Chazin began his career as a Deputy Public Defender. He then moved on to work as a Deputy State Public Defender in San Francisco where, along with a colleague, successfully investigated and presented the actual innocence claim of a client on death row for the alleged double murder of a mother and her young son in the Los Angeles area. After numerous appeals and writs over the course of more than 30 years, the death sentence was vacated by the California Supreme Court in 2007, and the client was finally released from custody in 2019 after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the verdict of guilt based on the likelihood that the client did not commit the murders for which he was convicted. This client is one of only five innocent people that have ever been freed from California’s Death Row.
Following his work in the State Public Defender’s Office, Mr. Chazin entered private practice, working at a large criminal defense firm for seven years until he started his own firm in 2003. Since starting his own firm, Mr. Chazin has served on the CJA Trial Panel for the Northern District of California at various times since 2003. In that capacity, he tried one of the first (if not the first) MS-13 gang cases to go to trial on the west coast. Despite, the fear-inducing negative publicity surrounding MS-13, his client was acquitted of all charges following the assertion of an entrapment defense based on the importuning of a government snitch.
Mr. Chazin has also assisted clients for over 30 years in various post-conviction matters including the filing of numerous appeals and writs on behalf of clients in the Ninth Circuit and in various California Courts of Appeal, and has represented clients in parole violation and parole lifer hearings.
Mr. Chazin was a member of the Board of Governors of California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) from 2014 until he termed out a few months ago, maintaining an active presence on CACJ’s Legislative Committee for more than 5 years while lobbying state legislators on behalf of CACJ concerning issues and proposed bills that affect the accused. Mr. Chazin is also the current Acting-President and a long-standing member of the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization, Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, which has been at the forefront of promoting the application of international human rights laws and treaties in US domestic legal matters.
With regard to pro bono service in the legal profession, Mr. Chazin has represented numerous political protesters who were arrested and facing criminal charges since the 1990’s. These clients have included the Wheeler 69 (protesting against the government’s involvement in the Iraq War in 2003), the Oscar Grant protesters, the KPFA/Pacifica Radio strike protesters and others.
Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence: A Trial Strategy Guide
NACDL’s Pattern Cross-Examination for DNA and Biological Evidence will assist criminal defense practitioners in scoring points when cross-examining forensic experts in cases involving DNA and biological evidence. This resource contains thousands of questions that will help defense lawyers cross-examine challenging witnesses without reinventing the wheel with each new case. It includes pattern questions that can be used to dominate prosecution DNA experts and level the playing field at trial.
Cross-Examination of the Analyst in Drug Prosecutions (2nd Ed.) By James M. Shellow
Now in its second edition with some new material, James M. Shellow’s book offers what its title promises: ways of thinking about cross-examining the forensic analysts in drug cases. But the book is so much more than that. It offers a look inside the mind of one of the finest cross-examiners and defense lawyers the United States has produced in the last seventy years. This small book can inspire and direct you in making big changes in the way you defend your clients and think about the entire project of trying any case.
Justice For All, Justice Now White T-Shirt (Women’s)
This custom, vintage-faded NACDL t-shirt is 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon weighing 5.2 oz. and is lightwieght, flexible and soft, providing maximum comfort. It features the "Justice For All, Justice Now" slogan and Lady Liberty image on the front, with the NACDL logo on the back. Currently available in both men's and women's sizes in both black and white colors. View the full line-up of colors and sizes on our online store, as well as our other popular and best-selling t-shirt designs at: nacdl.org/store.
Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection - CD-ROM
NACDL’s Drug Cases Resource Materials Collection is the sweeping culmination of every single article of written materials ever published from each installment of NACDL's annual "Defending Modern Drug Cases" seminar. Totaling over 12,000 pages, this vast collection includes 12+ years of motions, briefs, reports, outlines, transcripts, case citations, scholarly articles, powerpoints and other written commentaries. This collection provides trial strategies and tactics you can immediately apply to your current cases.
Mental Illness & the Law: Addressing and Litigating Behavioral Health Disorders in Criminal Cases
Whether it is insanity, impairment, a disorder, or adolescent brain development; mental health and intellectual competence issues affect pretrial supervision, trial and sentencing, and your chances of successfully advocating for your impaired client. This training provides ideas and proven solutions to assist you in advocating for your client during trial, whether it be insanity defenses, jury selection, cross of expert witnesses, persuasion, or mitigation at sentencing.