Born in Elizabeth, NJ, Martin D. Matlaga graduated from Roselle Catholic High School before attending the Virginia Military Institute and receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. Following his undergraduate study, Martin enrolled in the T.C. Williams School of Law, at the University of Richmond, VA, where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree in Law.
Martin returned to New Jersey where he opened up his own law practice in Union County. While focusing on criminal and civil law, Martin developed a strong interest in criminal trial work and honed his skills in motion practice, jury selection, opening statements, objections, arguments, interlocutory appeals, summations, and post-trial motions.
Following several years of operating his own law practice, Martin began working for the Law Office of Michael T. Ridge, Esq., in the Bronx, NY, concentrating on personal injury law. Martin handled a high volume of cases originating throughout all five boroughs in New York City.
Martin returned to New Jersey in 1991 where he took a position with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender. While working in the New Brunswick office in Middlesex County, Martin defended clients in more than 2,500 cases over a 14-year period, including 112 jury trials.
In 2003, the New Jersey Appellate Division ordered a new trial for a Perth Amboy man whom Martin defended. He was accused of first-degree murder in 1989 and found “not guilty” of murder but convicted of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter. The three-judge panel agreed with Martin’s trial objections which argued that the assistant prosecutor prejudiced the jury by repeatedly referring to the insanity defense of his client as an “excuse” that allowed the defendant to “get away with” murder and reversed the conviction! As a result of the appellate ruling, this case became law.
In 2005, Martin opened his own criminal defense law office in New Brunswick where he continued to handle very serious indictable criminal offenses, including: murder, sexual assault, armed robbery, drug offenses, weapons possession, aggravated assault, burglary, kidnapping, white collar crimes, federal court cases, expungements, etc. In addition to his criminal defense work in New Jersey, Martin also serves as an assigned counsel on the New York Supreme Court Article18-B felony panel where he is assigned to the borough of Manhattan.
In 2016, the Supreme Court of New Jersey named Martin a Certified Criminal Trial Attorney, which is an elite designation given by the Court. Currently, only 250 out of 93,000 lawyers in the state have this special appointment. This title was established in 1980 for the purpose of helping consumers find attorneys who have a recognized level of competence in particular fields of law.
In his spare time, Martin loves reading, keeping up-to-date with the latest news and information related to criminal law, movies, travel, and dancing. He is also a self-proclaimed “foodie,” but continues a lifelong habit of extremely vigorous exercise.