MACDL is the pre-eminent Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts. We are an affiliate of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. MACDL is formed exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes which include, but are not limited to, the following purposes:

  • To provide support for criminal defense lawyers in the practice of their craft, including, but not limited to, a strike force, amicus briefs, and other services which will improve the quality of representation of the accused;
  • To protect the individual rights of the citizens of the Commonwealth as guaranteed by the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution and the United States Constitution, including, most particularly, the right to counsel;
  • To promote the exchange of experience, legal precedent, and research among criminal defense lawyers throughout the Commonwealth;
    To enlighten the public about the legitimate role of criminal defense lawyers in society;
  • To maintain the integrity and independence of criminal defense lawyers;
  • To preserve the adversary system of justice;
  • To coordinate efforts with national and local bar associations that are concerned with criminal justice.

MACDL Officers and Directors 2019


President: Victoria Kelleher

Vice-President: John Amabile

Immediate Past President: Derege Demissie

Attorney Demissie is a member of the Massachusetts Bar, the Federal District Court Bar, First Circuit Court of Appeals Bar, and Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Bar. He is an experienced litigator and trial attorney in both criminal and civil cases. He has tried over 50 complex jury trials in state and federal courts and argued several times before the Massachusetts Appellate Court, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the First Circuit Court of Appeals. Attorney Demissie advises and represents both individuals and businesses.

Treasurer: Brian E. Murphy

Brian E. Murphy focuses his practice on criminal defense in the district, superior and federal courts. Mr. Murphy has spent his entire career focused on defending those accused of crime and advocating for them both in Court and in the various administrative proceedings that often accompany prosecutions. He primarily handles serious criminal matters with special focus on white collar offenses, complicated sex offense accusations, drunk driving allegations, violent crime and post-conviction and appellate advocacy. He also handles select civil matters. Mr. Murphy graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester and from Columbia Law School where he was a James Kent Scholar and the Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review.

Board of Directors

Following is a list of MACDL committees and their chairpersons. Some of the committees are welcoming new members. If you are a member in good standing and are willing to commit some of your time to service on a committee, contact the committee chair.

Lawyers Assistance Strike Force

John Amabile, Chair

Amicus Curiae

Chauncey Wood, Chair

Events and Awards
Laura Mannion and Jane Peachy, Chairs

Continuing Legal Education and Programs
Laura Mannion, Chair

Howard Cooper and Austin Tzeng, Co-Chairs

Shira Diner and Emily Shulman, Chairs

Federal Practice Committee
Jane Peachy and William Fick, Chairs

Communications and Social Media
Ruth O’Meara-Costello, Chair

Brian Murphy, Chair

Young Lawyers Division
(Chair Open)

Witness Advocacy and Representation Network (WARN)