With more than three decades of criminal defense experience, Benjamin “Benji” Waxman focuses exclusively on federal and state appeals, post-conviction remedies, trial court motion practice, and developing legal strategies for criminal cases. He has also worked extensively vacating criminal convictions to eliminate immigration consequences and lectured across the state on vacating such convictions.
A certified Criminal Appellate Specialist by the Florida Bar since 1990, Benji is a resourceful, proven advocate who understands how to serve as a trusted advisor at the most difficult time of his client’s life. As the chances of success are small at the post-conviction phase, Benji is valued for his absolute honest assessment of a potential client’s case and the chances for relief and maximizing that opportunity.
At the state level, Benji’s experience includes appeals to all of the Florida District Courts of Appeal, discretionary review in the Florida Supreme Court, motions for rehearing and rehearing en banc, motions for post-conviction relief, petitions for writs of prohibition, mandamus, habeas corpus, and certiorari, and applications for federal habeas corpus relief from state court convictions pursuant to 28 USC § 2254. For federal convictions, Benji has filed appeals in nearly every federal circuit court of appeals. He is skilled in federal motions to vacate judgments pursuant to 28 USC § 2255, applications for permission to file second or subsequent § 2255 motions, and petitions for pardon, clemency, or commutation. Benji has filed and had granted applications for certificates of appealability and appealed denials of motions under 28 USC §§ 2254 and 2255. Benji has filed numerous petitions for writs of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court and has won review and vacation of his client’s conviction in that Court.
Regardless of the challenge at hand, Benji is skilled in presenting newly discovered evidence, errors not known to the defense, changing laws, and the ineffective assistance of prior counsel to defend his clients. In addition, Benji has cultivated and maintained a network of experts and other professionals involved in such fields as mental health, ballistics, blood spatter, fingerprints, and DNA to further his client’s position.
Among other death penalty cases, Benji defended a Spanish national on death row for more than a decade in post-conviction proceedings until he got his conviction and death sentence vacated. He ultimately helped defeat the death penalty following a three and one-half month trial. The case and Benji’s representation are represented in a documentary to be released in 2019 and already serve as the storyline for a fictional television program in Spain.
Benji thrives under the challenge and pressure associated with post-conviction counsel. He cares deeply about his client’s fate and seeks to alleviate their burden even in the most difficult circumstances. In return, Benji’s clients value that he takes the time to understand the emotional drivers underlying their predicament and goes to any length to secure their freedom or lessen the punishment.
Before joining the firm, Benji maintained a solo practice for several years. Prior to that, he was a member for three decades and partner for more than two decades with the former Miami criminal defense firm, Robbins, Turkey, Ross, Amsel, Raben & Waxman, P.A.
- Colorado, 1983
- Florida, 1984, Board Certified in Appellate Practice since 1990
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1988
- U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1992
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 2006
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1987
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 1st Circuit, 1984
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 2d Circuit, 2004
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 3d Circuit, 1987
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 4th Circuit, 1987
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 2000
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 1994
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 1989
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, 1985
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, 1991
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 10th Circuit, 1986
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1987
Awards & Recognition
- AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Florida Bar Board Certified in Appellate Practice, 1990-present
- “Best Lawyers,” Best Lawyers, Miami: Appellate Practice, 2019-2021
- “Florida Legal Elite,” Appellate Practice, Florida Trend, 2020
- “Super Lawyer,” Appellate, Florida Super Lawyers, 2006-2021
- ”Against All Odds,” Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, 2016
- C. Clyde Atkins Civil Liberties Award, Greater Miami ACLU, 2014
- ”President’s Service Award,” FACDL Miami, 2004, 2005, 2011
- “Best Lawyer in Miami,” New Times Magazine, 1998
- ”Public Interest Recognition Award,” University of Miami Law School, 1996
AV® Preeminent™ and BV® Distinguished™ are certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.
- Director, ACLU, Miami Chapter
- Former Director, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter
- Former Director and Executive Committee Member, Florida ACLU
- Board Member, Transition Inc. (a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing job opportunities to released prisoners)