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Office Of Public Defenders Names New Director

Brett Schandelson has been named the new Montana Office of Public Defenders director.

Schandelson started as the office’s acting director in June 2022 after former Director Rhonda Lindquist retired. He has been with the office since 2018 and served as chief of OPD’s Development and Operations Bureau prior to taking over as director.

“Brett stepped up and successfully led the department as acting director. During that time, he demonstrated leadership, dedication to serving those most in need of assistance, and ensuring our citizens’ constitutional right to counsel is protected,” said Department of Administration director Misty Ann Giles in a press release. “I’m confident in Brett’s ability to lead OPD and keep moving the department forward to meet the needs of Montanans.”

Schandelson, 39, is from Great Falls and attended Montana State University before graduating from the University of Montana School of Law in 2008. After a decade- long litigation career, primarily focused on criminal defense in state courts, Schandelson joined OPD.

“I’m honored for this opportunity to lead the department and continue building on its solid foundation and structure,” Schandelson said in the release. “Getting to continue working with such a dedicated and compassionate team makes me excited for the future and everything we will accomplish.”

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