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Office of the Public Defender           6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1400, Baltimore, MD 21202           1.877.430.5187              opdcommunications@opd.state.md.us

forensic

mental health 

 

MARY PIZZO

SUPERVISOR

410.767.1839

KIMBER WATTS

ATTORNEY

410.767.9855

FORENSIC MENTAL HEALTH DIVISION

6 ST. PAUL STREET

SUITE 1400

BALTIMORE, MD 21202

It is not uncommon for those involved in the criminal justice system to experience mental health concerns which may significantly impact their cases and their lives. Effective client-centered representation requires the attorney to recognize client mental health issues relevant to the case, and accordingly develop a defense plan that also includes treatment and mitigation strategies. 

The mission of the Forensic Mental Health Division is to provide OPD and panel attorneys with access to the highest caliber expert consultative services, resources, training, and technical litigation support necessary for superior representation of clients with complex mental health issues.

 

The Forensic Mental Health Division provides on-call litigation support to OPD attorneys throughout the State to enable access to outside experts in the field, assist with specific case trial strategies, develop institutional models for practice, and participate in relevant policy and special impact litigation. Additionally, the Forensic Mental Health Division provides training and technical assistance on best practices for problem solving courts in the areas of mental health and drug addiction.

 

Areas of expertise assistance include litigation matters involving:

  •  Competence to stand trial

  •  Criminal responsibility

  •  Mens rea and affirmative defenses

  •  Juvenile life without parole sentencing issues

  •  Juvenile transfer/waiver of jurisdiction

  •  Coerced confessions and competency to waive Miranda rights

  •  Parenting/bonding issues

  •  Mitigation efforts

  •  Record reviews

  •  Problem solving court issues