OPD’s Forensics Division has quickly become noted nationally as one of the premier Forensic Science litigation units in the country. The tragic and continuing saga of wrongful convictions is that many are avoidable had there been meaningful scrutiny of the scientific evidence.

Forensics Divison
Steve Mercer
, Chief Attorney
6 St. Paul Street- Suite 1400
Baltimore, MD 21202
410 767 5541
smercer@opd.state.md.us

FORENSIC DIVISION

Steve Mercer, Chief Attorney
Mr. Mercer is the Chief Attorney for the Forensics Division of the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the David A. Clarke School of Law at the University of the District of Columbia, where he teaches an advance course on forensic science and expert testimony. Before joining the Public Defender, Mr. Mercer maintained a private criminal defense practice in Maryland for fifteen years, where he focused on cases involving forensic science. Mr. Mercer is actively involved in litigation and public commentary on issues arising at the intersection of DNA testing and civil liberties, including appearing on CBS’s 60 Minutes newsmagazine program, focusing on the emerging practice of familial searching of DNA data banks, on PBS’ Religion and Ethics News Weekly program, and on MSNBC regarding DNA databank and privacy issues. Mr. Mercer has also appeared by invitation at national symposiums to address the privacy implications of DNA databases and familial searching.

Jeffrey Gilleran, Assistant Public Defender
Mr. Gilleran is a founding member of the Forensics Division. Prior to that, he practiced in the felony trial division in Baltimore City. He has been involved in complex litigation including capital cases and pretrial admissibility challenges to a wide range of forensic evidence. Mr. Gilleran’s expertise includes emerging trends in DNA analysis and “shaken baby syndrome.” He continues to train attorneys on forensic science and trial skills.

Andrew Northrup, Assistant Public Defender
Mr. Northrup joined the Forensics Division in 2010. He graduated from Earlham College. Mr. Northrup then obtained his J.D. from the William and Mary Law School. Andrew went to work at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office where he was a founding member of their forensic science division. Mr. Northrup also worked in Minnesota with the State Public Defender team handling complex cases throughout the state. He is a frequent lecturer on forensic and trial advocacy issues and he continues his interest in emerging fields in forensic evidence.

Cheryl Hughes-Redd, Paralegal
Ms. Hughes-Redd joined the Office of the Public Defender in 2004 as a paralegal for the CINA division in Baltimore City. In 2007 she began working as a paralegal for the Innocence Project before joining the forensics division in 2008.

Shantel Collins, Administrative Assistant
Ms. Collins is a highly experienced and respected Administrative Assistant who first joined the Office of the Public Defender as a receptionist in 2006. In 2007 she became the office secretary for Administration, and in 2010 she began an assignment in our Fiscal Department. Ms. Collins joined the Forensic Division in April 2013.