Criminology and Criminal Justice Home HCC
Hcc Home > YC > CJT > Faculty > Judge Chris Sabella



Judge Christopher Sabella is a Circuit Judge with the 13th Judicial Circuit. Judge Sabella is a Tampa native and an alumnus of Jesuit High School.  He received his Bachelor of Science Degree from Florida State University where he majored in Psychology.  Upon graduation in 1989, Judge Sabella enrolled in Stetson Law School, received his J.D. Degree in 1992, and began working for the Hillsborough County Sheriff as legal counsel.  In 1996, Judge Sabella was appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Middle District of Florida where he handled civil and criminal asset forfeiture cases and prosecuted federal criminal cases.  In 1998, Judge Sabella returned to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office as the Deputy Chief Legal Advisor.  Judge Sabella has conducted training to thousands of state and federal law enforcement officers through the Multi-Jurisdictional Counterdrug Task Force in the areas of conspiracy prosecutions, courtroom testimony and constitutional law. In 2004, Judge Sabella was appointed as the Florida Association of  Police Attorneys representative to the Governor’s Task Force on Law Enforcement Use of Deadly Force.  Judge Sabella was a subject matter expert on the FDLE committee that developed the state mandated curriculum for the “Investigation and Supervision of Officer Involved Shootings.”  While working for the Sheriff, Judge Sabella defended both the agency and individual officers in civil rights and other law enforcement-related liability cases in State and Federal Court,  including serving as the lead attorney defending the agency in the aftermath of the Sabrina Aisenberg missing baby case.  In addition to defending the civil lawsuit, Judge Sabella supervised several detectives conducting the on-going investigation and following new leads in the disappearance of Sabrina Aisenberg.  In July 2010, Judge Sabella was recognized by Tampa Bay Magazine as Tampa Bay’s Top Lawyer in Law Enforcement. The Judge has also instructed at the Law Enforcement Academy.