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About me

Robert M. Sanger - born Arlington, Virginia, 1949;

Admitted to Practice Law: 1973, California; 1974, U.S. District Court, Northern, Central, Eastern and Southern Districts of California; District of Arizona; Western District of Oklahoma; 1975, U.S. Tax Court; 1979, U.S. Supreme Court; 1981, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit.

Education: University of California at Santa Barbara (B.A. 1970); University of California School of Law at Los Angeles (J.D. 1973).

Author (Articles): Frequent contributor of articles and book reviews published in the American Bar Association Journal, The Federal Lawyer, the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice Forum.  Writes a monthly column for the Santa Barbara Lawyer entitled Criminal Justice (2006 to present).

Author (Law Review):  Comparison of the Illinois Commission  Report on Capital Punishment Recommendations with the Capital Punishment System in California  published in Volume 44, University of Santa Clara Law Review, September 2003. 

Faculty:  Adjunct Professor of Law, Santa Barbara College of Law, 1975-1976; Capital Case Defense Seminar, 2006 to present. 

Lectured:  University of California at Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College as Guest Lecturer.   Lectured at MCLE courses for the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), the California Public Defender's Association (CPDA), Santa Barbara County Bar Association, Kern County Bar Association and the Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Bar Association.  Presented at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) Symposium on the Wrongfully Convicted.

Member (Professional Legal Organizations): American Bar Association; Federal Bar Association; National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, 1976 to present (Board of Governors 2006 to present; Co-Chair of the CACJ Legislative Committee, 2007 to present); California Public Defenders Association, 1977 to present;  Santa Barbara Women Lawyers; Santa Barbara County Bar Association (Member Board of Directors 1977 -- Chair, Criminal Law Section, 1978-1979, 1981, 1986-1988); Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyer's Bar Association (Co-chair 1994-1995).

Member (Law Related Organizations): Death Penalty Focus (Director 1998 to present); American Civil Liberties Union, Santa Barbara Chapter (President 1987-1989; 1991-1993).

Delegate: Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference (2004-2007).

Awards: California State Bar Board of Governor's Award for Pro Bono Services, 1982; Bill of Rights Award, A.C.L.U., Santa Barbara Chapter, 1994; Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Bar Association Order of the Reasonable Doubt, 1993; The Death Penalty Focus Special Achievement Award, 2004.

Board Certification: Certified Specialist, Criminal Law, The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

PRACTICE AREAS: Criminal Defense (State and Federal): Homicide; Death Penalty; Business and Securities Offenses; Sex Offenses and Crimes Against the Person; Complex Civil Litigation.



Naifeth and Smith, The Best Lawyers in America;

Martindale-Hubbell, Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

Mr. Sanger is designated a SuperLawyer:   Super Lawyers  visit


Practice areas


  1. Criminal Defense: 30%
  2. Federal Crime: 25%
  3. Litigation: 20%
  4. Investment Fraud: 20%
  5. Civil Rights: 5%



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Attorney endorsements

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  • Hovanes Margarian

    I endorse this lawyer.


    Hovanes Margarian Consumer protection Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Christopher Daniel Leroi

    Mr. Sanger is an exemplary attorney that I would not hesitate to refer to anyone and everyone. He provides excellent and informed answers here on Avvo. I have been a judge, magistrate, prosecutor, law professor, and private attorney over the past 24 years and I still regularly learn new aspects about the law from his answers.


    Christopher Leroi Mediation Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Sanger & Swysen

125 East De La Guerra Street,
Suite 102
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101


We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Southern California Super Lawyer, 2009, 10, 11SuperLawyers2009
Special Acheivement AwardDeath Penalty Focus2004
Bill of Rights AwardAmerican Civil Liberties Union - Santa Barbara1994
Order of the Reasonable DoubtSanta Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyers Bar Association1993
Award for Pro Bono ServicesBoard of Governors California State Bar1982
Work experience
TitleCompany nameDuration
Senior PartnerSanger & Swysen1973 - Present
Adjunct Professor of LawSanta Barbara College of law1976 - 1978
Association namePosition nameDuration
California Public Defenders AssociationMember1977 - Present
California Attorneys for Criminal JusticeOfficer, currently Vice President1976 - Present
California Attorneys for Criminal JusticeMember1976 - Present
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMemberN/A
Santa Barbara Women Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyers Bar AssociationMemberN/A
State Bar of CaliforniaMemberN/A
American Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Federal Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Santa Barbara County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Lawyers Bar AssociationCo-Chair1994 - 1995
Criminal Law Section Santa Barbara County BarChairman1986 - 1988
Criminal Law Section Santa Barbara County BarChairman1981 - 1981
Criminal Law Section Santa Barbara County BarChairman1978 - 1979
Santa Barbara County Bar AssociationBoard of Directors1977 - 1977
Legal cases
Case nameOutcome
State and Federal Criminal CasesNumerous wins at trial and avoidance of indictments and favorable resolutions pretrial
See all legal cases 
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of California at Los Angeles School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1973
University of California - Santa BarbaraN/ABA - Bachelor of Arts1970
Speaking engagements
Conference nameTitleDate
Capital Cases Defense SeminarDeath Penalty Defense -- Member of Faculty 2008, 09, 112011
Symposium on the WrongfullyConvictedDeath Penalty Deterrence Studies2008
Numerous ConferencesCriminal Law2005