Florida’s Nellie King installed as president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Florida’s Nellie L. King was sworn in as the 64th president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) at the association’s recent annual meeting in Palm Beach.
The owner of The Law Offices of Nellie L. King, P.A., in West Palm Beach, King exclusively practices criminal defense. Known for her “zealous and impassioned advocacy for clients and the community,” King has handled many complex, high stakes, and high-profile cases in state and federal courts, including corruption, murder, sex crimes, fraud and white collar investigations, and complex conspiracy cases, according to the NACDL. She has also served in numerous state and national leadership roles with the aim of “reforming the criminal legal system” and she lectures nationally on criminal defense and constitutional topics.
In her remarks to the criminal defense bar, members of the judiciary, and state and national leaders, King emphasized the mission of NACDL, which includes identifying and reforming flaws and inequities in the criminal legal system and redressing systemic racism. Criminal defense lawyers “have an obligation to investigate, expose, litigate, lobby, publicize, and eliminate systemic abuses that touch upon the criminal legal system, in whatever form, and via whatever tactic necessary to fight the dilution and tarnishment of the Constitution and the rights of our clients, particularly clients of color and disadvantaged means,” King said.
King’s priorities during her tenure include initiatives to address police misconduct and abuses and the lack of transparency and accountability in law enforcement agencies.
“We live in a country where law enforcement has become militarized, training has resulted in warriors patrolling the streets, and taking an oath to tell the truth has become optional among some rank and file officers responsible for seeking justice,” said King, adding that in order to combat a lack of transparency in law enforcement, she will amplify NACDL’s Full Disclosure Project, an initiative to build open-source software to aggregate and analyze law enforcement misconduct data. She is a member of the Advisory Committee for that project.
During her term, King also vowed to prioritize the legal implications from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion, overturning the decades-long precedent of Roe v. Wade, according to the NACDL. King projects the Dobbs decision will open the floodgates of prosecution of thousands of women, medical providers, and others who assist those seeking access to medical procedures.
“This issue is not a political one for our members: it is an issue of overcriminalization, taxing a system already overburdened by mass incarceration initiatives, and the disproportionate impact this decision will once again have on people of color and the poor,” King said.
King urged members to take up the fight for equality in justice, as her leadership comes “at a critical juncture in the fight against systemic racism, police misconduct, overreach, and brutality, mass incarceration, overcriminalization, woefully underfunded public defense offices, sentencings which penalize the constitutional right to a jury trial, and now, the prosecution of women who choose to exercise their reproductive rights, as well as those that aid in those personal decisions.”
King serves on the Palm Beach County Criminal Justice Commission and is an alumnus of Leadership Palm Beach County. She is a past president of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Palm Beach Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.