Alyssa Bell is a seasoned criminal defense attorney and appellate specialist. Alyssa brings extensive federal litigation experience at all stages of proceedings and wide-ranging expertise in criminal matters, including extradition, financial fraud, RICO conspiracy, narcotics offenses, and Fourth and Fifth amendment challenges to government overreach. She is particularly known for her creative and intelligent approach to complex litigation.
Prior to joining CW, Alyssa spent six years at the Office of the Federal Public Defender, where she attained a coveted position in the prestigious Appellate Unit. She has appeared numerous times before the Ninth Circuit, where she is well-recognized as a fierce and persuasive oral advocate. Alyssa also served as the Office's impact litigation coordinator, spearheading a strategy to challenge corrupt police practices in a high-profile series of cases. Her work vindicating her clients’ rights has been recognized in the L.A. Times. As a Trial Deputy, Alyssa garnered a track record of achieving impressive results for her clients, ranging from the successful negotiation of pre-indictment dispositions to victory at trial.
Prior to the Federal Defender's Office, Alyssa served as a law clerk to the Honorable Richard A. Paez of the Ninth Circuit, and the Honorable Margaret M. Morrow (ret.) of the Central District of California. She is an alumna of the New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar and the recipient of three graduation prizes recognizing her academic achievement and legal scholarship. She was awarded first place in the venerated UVA Journal of International Law and Human Rights writing competition and published in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change, where she also served as Senior Articles Editor.
Attained reversal of a 108-month sentence on behalf of a prominent Southern California physician convicted of multiple counts of healthcare fraud. In a published opinion, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the district court violated the Constitution's Ex Post Facto Clause by applying the most recent federal sentencing guidelines' manual, although an earlier, less-punitive version applied to all but one count of conviction. The opinion broke new ground on the continuing offense doctrine, and rejected the government's claim that sentencing for continuing offenses is proper under a single manual even where the prosecution charges multiple counts arising from independent executions of the scheme.
Successfully defended the district court's grant of a suppression motion on appeal before the Ninth Circuit. The three-judge panel roundly rejected the government's attempts to justify law enforcement's warrantless search of an apartment, finding that officers lacked probable cause to believe it was the client's residence.
Represents CEO of healthcare corporation alleged to have misused federal funds in the administration of drug treatment programs. The case is expected to proceed to trial.
Argued the Ninth Circuit's lead case on a complex issue of first impression involving the void-for-vagueness doctrine's application to the federal sentencing guidelines. The presiding judge complemented counsel's mastery and explication of the issues.
Obtained a jury acquittal on a charge carrying a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence. The jury heard competing expert testimony on the weight and purity of narcotics allegedly in the client's possession and rejected the government chemist's findings.
Argued First Amendment question of first impression before the Ninth Circuit. The case involved federal prisoners' right to free expression in their outgoing correspondence.
Represented amicus curiae before the California Supreme Court in support of former LA Sheriff Jim McDonnell's bid to provide District Attorney Jackie Lacey with the LA Sheriff's Department's internal Brady list of officers with serious misconduct records.
Obtained a new trial for a client facing decades of incarceration following the jury's guilty verdict. The court's order granting relief acknowledged that the trial judge improperly influenced an equivocal juror in reaching a guilty verdict.
Negotiated unprecedented non-prosecution of a former querida (modern-day concubine) facing extradition to the Philippines for trial on fabricated criminal charges. The government agreed to drop all charges only after an extensive international investigation and full briefing of the extradition defense.
Obtained acquittal of client charged with indecent exposure on a military base. The district court precluded the testimony of two of the government's three key witnesses following motions in limine.
Litigated jury instruction issue in the district court that ultimately resulted in reversal, in a published opinion, of the client's convictions on appeal before the Ninth Circuit. Following remand, the client was offered diversion and sustained no convictions.
Represents well-respected surgeons charged individually in alleged multi-defendant conspiracy to deprive patients of honest services. The cases are expected to proceed to trial.
Represents prominent local politician in a pre-indictment federal investigation.
Represents clients before the California appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit on matters ranging from the denial of coram nobis relief, to bank burglary, to bribery of a public official.