Elect Todd Oppenheim, Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge

Todd Oppenheim

I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Sandy Spring, Maryland. My father owned a small business in southwest Baltimore for over 30 years, and some of my earliest memories of Charm City are going to work with my Dad and attending Orioles games at Memorial Stadium. But it was a service project in college that opened my eyes to the “other Baltimore.” As a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, I found myself cleaning up a vacant lot in Sandtown. To a white kid from “the county”, the city's west side was totally foreign. The neighborhood seemed forgotten, and its decent people ignored.

That experience has stuck with me throughout my life. I graduated from the University of Maryland and moved to Baltimore in 2000 to attend the University of Baltimore School of Law. I now live in Ednor Gardens with my family in our home of 10 years. I volunteer at the Maryland SPCA and help foster dogs. I also assist as a masters swim coach at the YMCA. I play ball all over the city and am an avid triathlete. I normally bike to work or ride the MTA.

In 2003, I found my calling as a criminal defense attorney at the Office of the Public Defender (OPD). Ever since, I have been a diligent, outspoken, and effective advocate for the indigent people of Baltimore.

My experiences as a lawyer have shaped my beliefs in the reforms that I want to enact as a judge. My work often takes me to different jails, where my clients suffer the atrocities of mass incarceration first-hand. I've seen the lives of my clients and their families shattered needlessly when judges set excessive bails. I’ve argued before judges who systematically disregard defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights, allowing bad police work to stand in court.

As a public defender, I have fought hard to defend my clients in a system that is stacked against them. My record speaks for itself. I have excelled at every level of criminal litigation, trying over 75 jury trials and litigating countless judge trials, hearings, and motions. I have also represented clients in family court, conducted civil probation hearings, and defended clients in District Court. I completed the prestigious National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia in 2010. I have given seminars for my colleagues on issues like jury selection. Additionally, I write and speak in the community about equal justice issues.

It’s been an honor to serve the community as a public defender, but I want to do more than battle the system one client at a time. Baltimore needs systemic change. We need to rethink the model upon which our courts are built. The “War on Drugs” needs to end. Locking people up for minor drug offenses does more harm than good.

As a judge, I would have the power to change the system from the inside out—and if elected, I’ll do just that.