In the Joint Chairmen's Report released earlier this year, understaffing at the Office of the Public Defender was a key issue identified about the health of the office. 

Severe understaffing and turnover has led to heavy caseloads for current employees at OPD, and no district or job title has escaped without feeling the crunch of these staffing issues. 

Fall is here in full swing and you know what that means – election season is here!  

OPD workers! Join us tomorrow, January 19, at 5pm to observe a meeting of OPD's Board of Trustees, the body that will select the next Public Defender. This decision is of huge importance to every OPD worker and every one of our clients, but few people even know the Board exists.

At Maryland Matters, MDU President Marci Tarrant Johnson writes on the OPD Board of Trustees and the Public Defender selection process!

By now, everyone has probably heard the great news about pay increases for state workers, including OPD employees! We've been asked lots of questions about where these raises are coming from and what they mean. Read on for the four takeaways from these raises, and send this to any coworkers who have questions of their own!

MDU has completed a survey of workloads among OPD lawyers, core staffers, and social workers, and the responses paint a stark picture of an agency nearly overwhelmed by rising caseloads that management has been unable or unwilling to address.

One year ago, the Maryland Defenders Union formed because OPD workers are underpaid and overworked, and our clients are suffering as a result. Yesterday, we won long-overdue change on one of those fronts, with raises promised for many attorneys within OPD.

We're heading out of the summer months, and before the weather turns on us we want to get together in person for the first time to launch our campaign to win collective bargaining and merit status!


We are the Maryland Defenders Union, an association of the frontline workers of the Office of the Public Defender whose labor is essential to the agency’s mission of providing outstanding representation to indigent clients. We are strongest when we speak together, work together, and fight together. Are you ready to join us?