City Paper decided to give this year's "best lawyer" award to a public defender. Many members of the public defenders office have been kicking some serious ass in 2016, from Jenny Egan who works with juveniles, to Todd Oppenheim, who made a rather heroic run for judge, and Natalie Finegar, the deputy district PD who heads up a lot of the operations, but Deborah Levi has had a kick ass year. She led the group of 50 defense attorneys seeking to get the internal affairs file of notorious cop Fabian Laronde—who was subsequently fired. And she was one of the lawyers on the forefront of revealing the use of secret surveillance in Baltimore when the court of special appeals ruled, on one of her cases, that the use of the Stingray cell site simulators were not legal without a warrant. It was the first time an appeals court ruled on the technology and could still lead to hundreds of convictions being overturned. While lawyers are always working in the best interest of their particular clients, some cases affect the public in general. And Levi's victories this year have put the public good at the forefront of the public defenders' office.
Best Lawyer: Deborah Levi, Assistant Public Defender