Billings attorney Mark Parker has been elected by his fellow members as the new chairman of the Public Defender Commission, to be a strong leader of the Montana Office of the State Public Defender with clear legislative priorities.  Parker said he would only take the position if he was given the freedom to restructure the office.

 
Parker wants a new organizational model allowing for the appointment of a strong, single Chief Public Defender with the statutory powers commensurate with those responsibilities.  Over the next several weeks, Parker said he intends to craft the future of the OPD.  He will take the lead on legislative priorities for the office during the new session this January.

 

 

Many of his ideas reflect some of the legislation proposed by the Task Force on State Public Defender Operations, created by the 2015 Legislature, which advocated making the head of the public defender's office a cabinet-level appointment.