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The right to counsel is one of the fundamental rights granted to criminal defendants by the U.S. Constitution. Since 1972, the Maryland Office of Public Defender (OPD) has helped to protect that right by representing criminal defendants who cannot afford attorneys. The OPD’s work is not limited to criminal representation, but also includes involuntary commitment, parental defense, and juvenile proceedings. 

Over the past 50 years, the OPD has grown to include offices in every county and in Baltimore City and employs more than 500 attorneys. While the OPD receives funding from the state, it lacks resources to provide its clients with comprehensive services or address systemic issues. As such, the Association for the Public Defender of Maryland (APDM), which was founded in 2012, supports the work of the OPD, which includes facilitating partnerships and collaborations between OPD and community stakeholders.

APDM and MSBA are holding a gala to celebrate OPD’s 50th Anniversary at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City, on the evening of November 1, 2022. The Gala will highlight the work of the more than 500 Maryland OPD attorneys who advocate for indigent clients, help people to seek justice, fight to protect their civil rights, and preserve their liberties.

Attending the Gala will not only allow you to enjoy a great celebration, it will also be an investment in OPD’s mission! Save the date for the Office of Public Defender’s 50th Anniversary Gala and stay tuned for more details, including presenters that will speak at the event!