CFACDL’s 2020-2021 Board
Benjamin Wurtzel – Immediate Past-President
Benjamin Wurtzel is a Florida Bar Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney. Mr. Wurtzel currently runs his own practice, Wurtzel Law, PLLC, a private criminal defense firm serving Central Florida. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Wurtzel served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit for seven years. Mr. Wurtzel has handled thousands of criminal cases, ranging from misdemeanors to life felonies. Mr. Wurtzel has experience in nearly all aspects of criminal defense litigation, including pre-trial, trial, appellate, and post-conviction matters.
Mr. Wurtzel has been a member of CFACDL since 2011, and a Board Member for the past six years, including five years as an executive officer. Currently, Mr. Wurtzel serves as the CFACDL Immediate Past-President. Mr. Wurtzel also serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as a chapter representative. Mr. Wurtzel obtained his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from the University of Florida, and obtained his J.D., cum laude, from Stetson University College of Law.
Ali Kamalzadeh – President
Ali Kamalzadeh has been a research & writing attorney for the Federal Defender’s Office since 2015. During law school, as a CLI, he assisted with foreclosure defense at the Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society (SCBALAS). Mr. Kamalzadeh organized SCBALAS’s first Volunteer Income Tax Assistance clinic to assist low-income residents with preparing and filing their federal tax returns. Prior to his legal career, Mr. Kamalzadeh was a federal regulations compliance and operations director for a national bank in their mortgage division.
Mr. Kamalzadeh has served on the CFACDL board since 2015. He also serves on the Orange County Teen Court Advisory Board, and the Central Florida Chapter of the ACLU. Mr. Kamalzadeh volunteers as co-counsel for the Middle District of Florida Intensive Re-entry Program, Orlando Division, where he assists post-incarceration participants receive support in a non-traditional supervisory setting. Mr. Kamalzadeh is a member and chapter representative for FACDL and a member of the Orlando Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.
Susan Malove – President-Elect
Susan Malove is a private attorney practicing state and federal criminal defense in Central Florida. Ms. Malove is Board Certified in Criminal Trial Law and has been working as a sole practitioner since 2014. Prior to opening her own firm, Ms. Malove was an Assistant Public Defender in the Ninth Judicial Circuit from 2009 through 2013. Since 2015, she has served as a Criminal Justice Act panel attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division. Through the CJA panel, Ms. Malove represents indigent defendants in federal court at the trial court level as well as on federal habeas petitions. In addition, Ms. Malove has continued to represent indigent defendants in Orange and Osceola County Circuit Courts on a court appointed basis through the Justice Administrative Commission.
Ms. Malove has been a member of CFACDL since 2009. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida in 2006, and her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2009.
Michelle Yard – Vice President
Michelle Yard is a Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney in Orlando, Florida where she works at the Federal Defender’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Prior to joining the Federal Defender in 2015, she worked for more than ten years as a state Assistant Public Defender in Orlando, Florida. In 2016, she received the annual “Foot Soldier of the Constitution” award from the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (CFACDL). She has been a speaker at statewide and national conferences on topics such as mitigation development and sentencing reform. She is a board member of the Central Florida Chapter of the ACLU and CFACDL. She received her J.D. cum laude and B.A. with honors from the University of Florida.
Andrew Clark – Treasurer
Andrew Clark is an assistant public defender, working in Seminole and Orange Counties for the past 13 years. At the Orange County office, he is responsible for a serious felony docket and trains new attorneys in jury selection. Mr. Clark has earned his reputation as an excellent trial attorney in his over 100 felony jury trials. He is board certified in Criminal Trial law by the Florida Bar since 2012. A member of the CFACDL Board of Directors for the past several years, Mr. Clark has a passion for the organization and its mission in the Central Florida legal community.
Rachel Mattie – Secretary
Rachel Mattie is a criminal defense attorney at The Umansky Law Firm in Orlando, Florida. Ms. Mattie majored in Legal Studies at UCF before graduating from Barry Law School in 2014, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the law review. She also worked as a staff Research Assistant, drafting and editing articles to be published in various journals including the Harvard Law & Policy Review. Ms. Mattie has also published law review articles of her own, topics including Florida’s Stand Your Ground law and the National Organ Transplant Act.
Ms. Mattie has devoted her entire legal career to criminal defense, starting out as a legal assistant for a criminal defense firm in law school and then becoming an Assistant Public Defender for the Ninth Judicial Circuit in 2014. In 2017, she made the transition to private practice and now solely represents criminal defendants, focusing primarily on DUI defense and driver license issues. In addition to serving as a board member for the Central Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Ms. Mattie also serves as a committee chair for OCBA’s Young Lawyer’s Section. Ms. Mattie is barred in Florida and in the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida.
David Varet – Director
David Varet is a passionate, lovable, and charismatic defender of criminal rights of the indigent in Central Florida. Following his graduating FSU Law in 2012, Mr. Varet came to Orlando to work at the Office of the Public Defender, 9th Circuit, where he quickly worked his way up the ranks to felony court. After a quick sojourn to private practice, Mr. Varet returned to the Office of Regional Conflict Counsel, 5th District to continue defending the indigent, where he currently remains. When not visiting clients or researching case law, Mr. Varet enjoys spending time with his perfect, perfect dog, cooking, and watching his beloved New York Yankees.
– Director at Large
– Director at Large
– Director at Large
– Director at Large