For More Information

Brian Saccenti
Chief Attorney
bsaccenti@opd.state.md.us

410-767-8554

Office of the Public Defender
Appellate Division
6 St. Paul Street, Suite 1302
Baltimore, MD 21202

 

APPELLATE DIVISION

Administration

Brian Saccenti, Chief Attorney
Mr. Saccenti obtained his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. After clerking for a federal magistrate judge, he joined the Office of the Public Defender in 2001. Mr. Saccenti began his work here as a trial attorney. In 2004 he joined the Appellate Division and is now the Chief Attorney.

Brian Zavin, Deputy Chief Attorney
Mr. Zavin received a J.D./M.A. from New York University School of Law, where he interned with the Legal Aid Society Criminal Appeals Bureau and the Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama. After graduating from law school, he served as Death Penalty Clerk for the New Jersey Supreme Court and as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender for the Appellate Section of the New Jersey Office of Public Defender. He has been with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender since 2003 in our Appellate Division.

Michael Braudes, Supervising Attorney
Mr. Braudes graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1975.  He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago School of Law in 1978. Mr. Braudes joined our Appellate Division in 1980.

Mark Colvin, Supervising Attorney
Mr. Colvin received his law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law.  He joined the Public Defender’s Office in 1983.  He has been a supervising attorney in the Appellate Division since 1992.

Nenutzka Villamar, Special Counsel for Appellate Parental Defense Litigation
Ms. Villamar received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1996 and started at the Office of the Public Defender in 1999, working in both the District Court Division in Baltimore County and the Child in Need of Assistance Division in Baltimore City. She joined the Appellate Division in 2003.

Staff Attorneys

Allison Brasseaux
Ms. Brasseaux received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Wake Forest University, and her J.D. degree cum laude, from Washington and Lee University School of Law. Following her graduation, Ms. Brasseaux was a law clerk for the Richmond Circuit Court in Virginia. She then completed a one-year fellowship at the Americans United for Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C. Ms. Brasseaux began working as an Assistant Public Defender in the Appellate Division in 2002.

Amy Brennan
Ms. Brennan received a J.D./ LLM from the Georgetown University Law Center where she was a Prettyman Fellow and a supervising attorney in the Criminal Justice Clinic. She began her career with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in 1992. Ms. Brennan joined our Appellate division in 1999.

Claire Caplan
Ms. Caplan graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law. Prior to joining our Appellate Division, she clerked for Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera of the Court of Appeals of Maryland.

Claudia Cortese
Ms. Cortese received a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1976.  She graduated from the University of Maryland Law School in 1979, passed the Maryland bar in 1979.  From August 1979 until August 1980, she clerked for Chief Judge Robert C. Murphy of the Maryland Court of Appeals.  In 1980, Ms. Cortese joined the Appellate Division of the Office where she remained until 1982.  Between 1982 and 1987, she practiced civil law both in Boston, Massachusetts and then in Baltimore, Maryland.  Ms. Cortese rejoined the Office of the Public Defender in 1989, where she was with the Capital Defense Division.  In 1991, she rejoined the Appellant Division, where she continues to practice.

Celia Anderson Davis
Ms. Davis graduated from the University of Vermont in 1984 (B.A.), Georgetown University in 1986 (M.A.), and the Washington College of Law, American University in 1990 (J.D.). She practiced in the trial courts before becoming an appellate attorney in 1994. She joined the Appellate Division in 2007.

Marc DeSimone, Jr.
Mr. DeSimone graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 2004. He was inducted into the Order of the Coif, the Order of the Barristers, and was the recipient of the Morris B. Myerowitz Moot Court Award. Mr. DeSimone clerked for the Honorable Vanessa Ruiz of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and was in private practice following his clerkship. He has been a member of our Appellate Division since 2006 and has been an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland School of Law since 2007.

Samuel Feder
Mr. Feder graduated the University of Michigan Law School in 2013 and spent a year in the Michigan Innocence Clinic. He attended the University of Maryland School of Law his third year, participating in a clinic that represented Unger clients. He spent his first two years out of law school working as an appellate attorney at the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender. He has been with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender’s Appellate Division since 2015.

Wyatt Feeler
Mr. Feeler received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center and an LL.M. from George Washington University Law School. Prior to joining the Appellate Division in 2013, he clerked at the Federal District of Connecticut, litigated death penalty appeals with the ACLU Capital Punishment Project, and taught in a criminal appeals clinic at George Washington University Law School.

Ethan Frenchman
Mr. Frenchman received a B.A. in History, Phi Beta Kappa and with honors, from the University of Chicago, and a J.D., with honors, from the University of Chicago Law School, where he received the Edwin F. Mandel Award for his work with the Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project. Mr. Frenchman was previously a trial attorney in the Baltimore City Office of the Public Defender and a fellow at the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.

Piedad Gomez
Ms. Gomez completed her undergraduate studies at SUNY Binghamton. She obtained her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Following her graduation, she served as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Carol E. Smith in the Baltimore Circuit Court. Ms. Gomez then clerked for United States District Judge Roger W. Titus. She joined our Appellate Division in 2004.

Kiran Iyer
Mr. Iyer received a B.A./LL.B. from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. After clerking for Chief Justice Robert French of the High Court of Australia and Justice Ruth McColl of the New South Wales Court of Appeals, he completed an LL.M. (Master of Laws) at Harvard Law School. He joined the Appellate Division in 2016.

Bradford Peabody
Mr. Peabody, a graduate of the Southern Methodist University School of Law, has been with our Appellate Division since 1977. He was formerly a supervisor of the student attorneys in the Appellate Clinics of both the University of Maryland School of Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law. Currently, he is the adjunct Professor of Law and the Coach of the top National Moot Court Competition Team at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Helki Philipsen
Ms. Philipsen is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received her J.D. degree magna cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was inducted into the Order of the Coif. Ms. Philipsen joined the Appellate Division as a law clerk in 2015 and returned as an Assistant Public Defender in 2016.

Krystal Quinlan
Ms. Quinlan obtained her B.A. from Stanford University, and her J.D. from New York University School of Law. After graduating from law school, Ms. Quinlan worked for three years at Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, where she worked on death penalty appeals and challenging life without parole sentences for juveniles. Ms. Quinlan went on to receive an LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was a Prettyman Fellow in the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic. She joined our Appellate Division in 2016.

Katherine Rasin
Ms. Rasin received her J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law with honors in 2002. After graduation, she completed two clerkships: the first with the Honorable Dennis M. Sweeney in the Circuit Court for Howard County and the second with the Honorable James P. Salmon in the Court of Special Appeals.  Ms. Rasin joined our Appellate Division in 2004.

Juan Reyes
Mr. Reyes graduated from Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. He went on to graduate school and received a masters degree in Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University. Mr. Reyes then returned to Massachusetts to study law and received his J.D. degree from the Boston University School of Law. Mr. Reyes joined the Appellate Division of the Office of the Public Defender in 2007.

Pete Rose

Jeff Ross

Tamara Sanders
Ms. Sanders received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2005. During that time she served in the Appellate practice clinic and still coaches the National Family Law Appellate Moot Court team. After graduation, Ms. Sanders served as the judicial law clerk to the Honorable J.S. Carrion in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Ms. Sanders joined our Appellate Division in 2006.

Julia Schiller
Ms. Schiller joined the Appellate Division in 2005. She brings her skills as an attorney in the district courts, the circuit court, and the juvenile court on the Eastern Shore to her work in our Appellate Division. Ms. Schiller graduated from the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law.

Eva Shell
Ms. Shell received her B.A., magna cum laude, from Marymount Manhattan College, and her J.D., summa cum laude, from Suffolk University Law School, where she was an editor of the Suffolk University Law Review. After graduation, Ms. Shell served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Justice Paul A. Suttell in the Rhode Island Supreme Court and the Honorable Timothy S. Hillman in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Ms. Shell joined the Maryland Office of the Public Defender in 2016 as a trial attorney for Baltimore County. She joined the Appellate Division in 2017.

Michael Torres
Mr. Torres received his B.A. from New York University and his J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. He participated in his law school’s Criminal Appeals Clinic and, prior to graduation, received the Richard C. Lewis, Jr. Memorial Award for Dedication to Clinics and Compassion & Humanity toward Clients & Colleagues. From 2010 to 2011, he served as a judicial law clerk at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Mr. Torres joined the Appellate Division in 2011.

Support Staff

Elanda Guess, Office Manager

Karen Logan, Paralegal

Vera Constantino, Administrative Aide

Tabitha Chambers, Secretary

Monique Dortch, Secretary

Phyllis Roberts, Secretary

Erica Sloane, Clerk