Matt Dugan was appointed the Chief Public Defender of the Allegheny County Office of the Public Defender in January 2020 after serving as the Acting Chief Public Defender since May 2019. Mr. Dugan began his career with the Public Defender’s Office in February 2007 as a trial attorney. In 2013, he was promoted to the position of trial manager and became Deputy of the Pre-Trial Division in March 2016. Beginning in September 2018, he assumed the role of Chief Deputy Director.
Matt has spent his career in the Public Defender’s Office and has implemented several transformational projects cementing that office’s leadership role in criminal justice reform in Allegheny County. During his time in the Office of the Public Defender, several innovative and transformative programs have been implemented that have helped change lives for the better in Allegheny County including Project Reset which provides expungements to former clients free of charge; the Preliminary Arraignment Project which requires attorneys from the Office of the Public Defender to represent all individuals at their Preliminary Arraignment at Pittsburgh Municipal Court; and, the Education Advocacy Project (EAP) which has represents children in magisterial court and allows EAP staff to identify multiple education-related problems, such as the need for an interpreter or enrollment assistance. EAP staff also participate in Individualized Education Program or Individual Support Plan meetings, attend disciplinary and expulsion hearings, work with the parents and children to address disability-related educational needs, and attend juvenile court hearings to speak on the child’s behalf.
Matt is a graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law where he received the CALI Award for excellence in Trial Advocacy and earned his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University. He and his wife, April, and their three sons live in Moon Township, where Matt was an elected member of the Moon Area School Board from 2017-2021. He serves on the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee for the state following his appointment by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2019 and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh Law School.