About Judge Martin


Judge Melanie Martin is the Little Rock District Court Criminal Judge. She assumed the bench on January 1 of this year.

She graduated from UALR Bowen School of Law in 1992 and became a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Sixth Judicial District upon her admittance to the Arkansas Bar. She has extensive bench and jury trial experience in general, juvenile, drug, domestic violence/sexual assault, gangs, major crimes, and homicide/capital cases. She served as Division Chief of District Courts/Complaints Division, Division Chief of the Drug Division, and Division Chief of various general Circuit Courts. She was promoted in 2005 to a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney position. As a Senior Deputy Prosecutor, she provided and assisted with staff oversight and policymaking decisions, with the development and implementation of prosecutorial policies and procedures, and she supervised the office’s training programs.

She served as a representative to the United States Dept. of Justice’s Violence Reduction Network, a partnership with the Little Rock Police Department, which sought to reduce violent crimes in all areas of the City.

She has served on juvenile justice committees, exploring juvenile diversion alternatives. She has lectured frequently at the local, state and national levels, provided instruction for in-house programs to law enforcement, and to District Attorneys’ offices at all levels on crime related and legal topics. She has served as a Peer Reviewer for the United States Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs’ Bureau of Justice Assistance.

She served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Bowen, teaching Lawyering Skills and Trial Advocacy. She is a Board Member of the Bowen Alumni Board, a Master of the Bench of the Judge William R. Overton Inn of Court, a member of AAWL, and of the Arkansas Bar Association. She is President of the Pulaski County Bar Foundation and is a past President of the Pulaski County Bar Association.

After Judge Alice Lightle retired in April, 2017, Judge Martin announced for election in May of that year. All four candidates for the position were women. She was elected on November 6, 2018. As District Judge, she oversees the largest district court docket in the state. Her court handles not only misdemeanor cases, but also daily felony arraignments. Using her experience in the area of criminal justice reform, her court is set to pilot a mental health diversion program, working with Little Rock Community Mental Health and the Arkansas State Hospital. Little Rock District Court-1st Div. also conducted a Leniency Court the entire month of April, 2019.

She is married to David, a partner at Rose Law Firm. They are the parents of their two college-aged daughters, Maggie and Katie, and their 13 year-old dachshund, Fritz. They are members of Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, where Judge Martin served as staff pianist for 21 years.