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At a Glance (as of 2013)

Percentage of state funding: 100%
Percentage of local funding: 0%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
State commission: yes
Branch of government: executive


Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

The Office of the Public Defender is a state-funded, executive branch agency responsible for providing right to counsel services in all courts across the state of Maryland, and overseen by an independent, 13-person commission known as the Board of Trustees. The Governor appoints 11 members with the consent of the Senate – one from each of the state’s 11 judicial districts.  The Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Delegates each appoint one member. Direct trial-level client services are provided primarily by full time public defenders located in 12 district public defender offices (many cover multiple counties). In cases of conflict, each district defender maintains a roster of local private attorneys handling individual case assignments on an hourly basis.


The Office of the Public Defender also maintains statewide divisions handling appeals, collateral review, aggravated homicide cases, and a juvenile protection division to monitor conditions of confinement for all children committed to the state’s Department of Juvenile Services. All statewide divisions operate out of OPD’s central administrative headquarters in downtown Baltimore.

Statutory Authority

Maryland Criminal Procedure Code § 16–101 through 16–403

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff.