Nina Salarno Besselman has 26 years of criminal justice experience, fighting for victims and families, and putting dangerous career criminals behind bars. She served as Deputy District Attorney in the Placer, Sacramento and Tulare District Attorney’s Offices, leading the Sexual Assault Unit in Placer County and the Domestic Violence Unit in Sacramento County. During her time as a prosecutor, she never lost a case.
In 1999, she was appointed to the newly created Office of Victims Services in the Department of Justice, where she formed the structure and vision of this agency for years to come. Upon the birth of her daughter, she left the AG’s office for private practice. Here, she focuses on family law, criminal cases and parole hearings, and assumes a leadership role in numerous non-profit groups dedicated to public safety and victims’ rights.
Nina was born and educated in San Francisco, and admitted to the State Bar in 1992.
In addition to her professional efforts, Nina volunteers for several groups dedicated to assisting victims and enhancing public safety. She serves as:
Nina is also active in the following organizations:
Nina has been repeatedly honored for her dedication to the cause of victims’ rights. She has received the following:
Nina Salarno Besselman’s career as a stalwart victims’ rights advocate began in 1980 when she testified before President Reagan’s Task Force on Crime Victims. She was 12.
Her youthful testimony grew out of a family tragedy – the execution-style murder of her oldest sister Catina in 1979. Nina told the panel that trauma became even more painful for the family during the legal process that followed. As victims, they found they had no voice and no rights. The killer was convicted of 2nd degree murder – and since then Nina has successfully argued at 9 parole hearings to keep him in custody.
That terrible experience forged Nina’s lifelong commitment to serving crime victims and their families.