Martha Rayner

FLS Martha Rayner

Clinical Associate Professor of Law

[email protected]
Office: Room 9-108

Areas of Expertise: Criminal Law and Procedure

  • Professor Rayner has been a clinical teacher at Fordham since 1998. She co-directs the Criminal Defense Clinic, which defends clients at the trial level, takes on the civil consequences of arrests, represents incarcerated persons seeking clemency, parole and in post-conviction matters, and engages in broad-based advocacy and litigation on behalf of clients indefinitely detained without charge by the United States military at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    She began practicing law as a public defender at the Legal Aid Society and went on to be one of the founding members of the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a community-based, model public defender office that redefined public defense from the traditional notion of working within the span of arraignment to conviction, to a broader demarcation of pre-arrest to post-disposition “after care.” At NDS, she developed a special unit that provided representation to clients facing the civil consequences of criminal accusations. Areas of practice included family law, housing, civil rights, immigration, and forfeiture, from trial to appellate level.

    She is a proud member of the first graduating class of City University of New York School of Law and has taught in Fordham Law School’s Summer Ireland Program.


    • Charles H. Revson Fellowship, Columbia University, 1997 - 1998
    • City University of New York School of Law, JD, 1986
    • Clark University, BA, 1980
  • Representative Publications

    You Love the Law Too Much. In J. Hafetz, Ed., Obama's Guantanamo: Stories From an Enduring Prison, NYU Press, 2016.

    The Practitioner’s View: Clients at Guantanamo; The Global Effects of Wrongful Detention, Torture, and Unchecked Executive Power Symposium, 10 New York City Law Review 405, 2007

    Roadblocks to Effective Representation of Uncharged, Indefinitely Imprisoned Clients at Guantanamo Bay Military Base, 30 Fordham Int. L. J. 485, 2007

    Conference Report: New York City’s Criminal Courts: Are We Achieving Justice?, 31 Fordham Urban Law Journal 1023, 2004

Martha Rayner Press Highlights

Times Union: Prof. Martha Rayner Says “Parole Board should not be able to outsource parole decisions to a widely criticized algorithm.”

Fordham Law’s Parole Advocacy Initiative Trains Volunteer Attorneys

Criminal Defense Clinic Students Learn the Art of Remote Representation

Crimes of Conviction Should Not Drive Prison Health Policy

Fordham Law Panel Explores Feminist Lawyering in Criminal Court

Law School Clinics Work to Help Prisoners Vulnerable to Coronavirus

How an Unheralded Change to Criminal Procedure Law §150.20 Will Overhaul Arrest Procedures in New York

Mayor’s Marijuana Policy Is Illegal, Unconstitutional And Irrational

Taking Ethics to a Higher Level

Obama’s Guantanamo

Hearing from the Lawyers Defending Guantánamo Detainees

US releases former Al Qaeda fighter, recruiter from Guantanamo Bay

Saudi Prisoner at Guantanamo Released by US After 14 Years

Closing Time?

In ‘Flush the Johns’ bench trials, judges should have explained acquittals, says DA Kathleen Rice

Guantánamo Prisoners at the Mercy of Politics