Meet the NHTSA

Tribal Courts Judicial Fellow

Hon. J. Matthew Martin, Asheville, NC

Judge J. Matthew Martin is the American Bar Association (ABA)/National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Tribal Court Fellow.  Judge Martin retired in 2013 after almost eleven years of service as an Associate Judge for the Cherokee Court, the Tribal Court for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Judge Martin is Board Certified as a Specialist in Federal and State Criminal Law and Criminal Appellate Practice by the North Carolina State Bar.  He serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law, teaching Federal Indian Law at his alma mater, the UNC School of Law as well as at Elon University School of Law.  Judge Martin holds a Master’s Degree in Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada-Reno.  He is published.  His most recent articles, “The Supreme Court Erects a Fence Around Indian Gaming,” and “Slaying the Minotaur,” will be published in the Spring of 2014 by the Oklahoma City University Law Review and the ABA Judges Journal, respectively.  Judge Martin has spoken across the United States and internationally on issues involving:   Indian law, criminal law and the judicial process.  He is a permanent member of the Fourth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Prior to beginning private practice in the mid-1980s Judge Martin served as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Richard C. Erwin, United States District Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina.  In addition to the scores of jury trials over which he has presided, Judge Martin tried numerous criminal jury trials as a lawyer, including: driving while impaired, armed robbery, bank robbery, complicated drug trafficking conspiracies and capital murder.  His various civil jury trials include: medical malpractice, personal injury, premises liability, and he holds, with co-counsel, what is currently believed to be the largest verdict in Orange County, North Carolina: $2,750,000.00 on behalf of a little girl, molested by her next door neighbor. Judge Martin has appeared before and argued in all of the appellate Courts in North Carolina, as well as in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  In the 1991 Term of the Supreme Court of the United States, at age 31, he argued Wade v. United States,  504 U.S. 181 (1992) before the Court on behalf of the Petitioner.

In addition to other judicial outreach functions, Judge Martin is very active within the Judicial Division (JD) of the ABA where he recently served as the Chair of the National Conference of Specialized Court Judges and now serves as Chair of the Conference’s Native American Tribal Courts Committee and as a member of the JD Judicial Ethics Committee. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Judicial College.  Judge Martin is married to Catherine S. Martin and they have one child. The Martins live in Asheville, North Carolina.