Position Information

Position Information Message
Assistant Public Defender: Decarceration Initiative
The Maryland Office of the Public Defender (OPD) seeks an experienced advocate to serve in its Decarceration Initiative in Baltimore City, Maryland. OPD is committed to building a culturally diverse staff and strongly encourages people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.
In April 2021, OPD launched its Decarceration Initiative to reduce mass incarceration in Maryland by providing representation to people eligible to file motions to reduce their sentences under the newly enacted Juvenile Restoration Act (JRA). The JRA allows people who have served at least 20 years of a sentence for a crime committed when they were under the age of 18 to file a motion asking the circuit court to reduce their sentence. The JRA allows the sentencing court to reduce a sentence if, after a hearing, it finds that (a) “the individual is not a danger to the public” and (b) “the interests of justice will be better served by a reduced sentence.” OPD strives to achieve Justice, Fairness, and Dignity for All. Our employees are committed to the core values of a culture of excellence, client-centered representation, tenacious advocacy, and are united as a team in achieving the OPD’s mission.
Overview of the Position:
The attorney hired for this position will work in the OPD’s Decarceration Initiative, which works to reduce mass incarceration by (1) representing individuals in circuit courts throughout Maryland who have been incarcerated for lengthy periods of time on motions for reduction of sentence, primarily under “second look” laws such as the Juvenile Restoration Act; and (2) advocating for the legal reforms that will reduce mass incarceration, including but not limited to the  “second look” provisions, sentencing and parole reform, felony murder reform, and the expansion of effective reentry services. The attorney hired for this position will be required to travel throughout the state as needed. The ideal candidate should be available to start in this position by July 12, 2023, or earlier. 
Primary Responsibilities:
  • Represent clients in circuit courts throughout the state on motions for reduction of sentence under “second look” law such as Maryland’s Juvenile Restoration Act.
  • Investigates and gathers relevant facts and mitigation to compose detailed and comprehensive motions to further advocate for clients’ release.
  • Work with psychologists, social workers, and/or reentry specialists as needed to develop a release plan for clients. 
  • Assist the Director of the Decarceration Initiative with coordinating the pro bono program, developing and conducting trainings to increase public awareness of the importance of decarceration through events and publications.
  • Compile data on cases and client outcomes.
  • Advocate for decarceration in the General Assembly and with other stakeholders on issues such as “second look” legislation, felony murder reform, parole reform, and expanded reentry services.
  • Effectively and compassionately communicate with clients, their family members and supporters, colleagues, and providers for optimal client outcomes.
  • Regularly seek professional development through trainings, continuing legal education, and skills courses.
  • Travel throughout the state is required.
  • Other duties as assigned by the State Public Defender.
Core Competencies and Requirements:
  • Demonstrated commitment to serving marginalized communities.
  • Clear dedication to upending systemic racism, prejudice, and unfairness in the criminal justice system.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and experiences.
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, diverse, team-oriented environment.
  • Exceptional organizational, legal, and administrative skills necessary to handle a demanding caseload in a timely and effective manner.
  • Strong legal writing and oral advocacy skills.
  • Experience litigating motions for reduction of sentence in serious felony cases on behalf of clients who have served a lengthy period of incarceration.
  • Experience advocating in the Maryland General Assembly preferred.
  • Active membership in good standing in the Maryland Bar or Bar of another state. Non-Maryland attorneys must commit to becoming a member of the Maryland Bar within 18 months of their start date.
  • This would be a lateral transfer for current OPD attorneys.
Salary and Benefits:
Salary is dependent on experience and salary rules will apply to State of Maryland employees. Please visit the State of Maryland Employee’s page to review benefit information.
Assistant Public Defender I- $72,340.00-$112,091.00 (Step 2-Step 22)
Assistant Public Defender II-$77,204.00-$119,591.00 (Step 2-Step 22)
Dependent on Experience
Position: Assistant Public Defender: Decarceration Initiative
Organization: Maryland Office of the Public Defender
Location: Baltimore,  MD 
United States
Salary: Dependent on Experience
Posting Start Date: 5/4/2023
Date Posted: 5/4/2023
Requirements To be considered for this position please click here to fill out the application and please submit the following items in one PDF attachment to opd-jobs.law@maryland.gov: (1) a current resume, (2) a cover letter, (3) a list of four professional references, (4) a law school transcript (if within 3 years of graduation), and two writing samples. In the email’s subject line, please indicate “Application for Decarceration Initiative.” Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Assistant Public Defenders are full-time employees and cannot engage in the private practice of law while in this position. MD Code, Criminal Procedure Art., Section 16-203(d)(2).
As a State agency, the Maryland Office of the Public Defender (MOPD) is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. MOPD is committed to the full inclusion of all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sex, physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or genetic information.
All applicants must be able to communicate with clients and visitors and possess the ability to complete tasks in a fast-paced work environment.  Applicants must be able to work in various positions and travel to various courtrooms and office environments throughout the state. MOPD is further committed to providing equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its services, programs, and activities by modifying or adjusting the job application process or the job or work environment to make reasonable accommodations to the known applicant or employee to enable the applicant or employee be considered for the position they desire; to perform the essential functions of the position in question; or to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment as are enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities, unless the accommodation imposes an undue hardship.
Applicants must be able to operate a computer and other office equipment. Applicants must have access to a motor vehicle or be able to navigate public transportation. If a reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact Tawanda Jackson, Human Resources Supervisor, at 410-767-8503 or tawandal.jackson@maryland.gov.
Status: This listing expires on: 8/2/2023
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Organization Information
Maryland Office of the Public Defender
6 Saint Paul Street, 14th Floor

Baltimore,  MD 21202
United States
(240) 397-8728
Durriyyah Hollimon