The mission of the
Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) is "to implement the
constitutional and statutory guarantees of counsel and to ensure the
effective and efficient delivery of indigent defense services funded
by the state... ." RCW 2.70.005.
Established by the Legislature in 1996, OPD is an independent agency of
the judicial branch. OPD administers state funds appropriated
for the RCW 71.09 Civil Commitment cases, Parents Representation Program for dependency cases, appellate
indigent defense services, and criminal trial indigent defense services.
Capital Case Litigation Training
||The Washington Death Penalty Assistance Center and State OPD
are recruiting public defense attorneys seeking to become
death penalty qualified for this unique training
opportunity. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of
Justice, the Capital Case Litigation Training will include a
four-day training session August 13-16, 2013 in Spokane, and
a follow-up four-day training session in August, 2014, in
Vancouver. The class is provided at no charge, and
housing/per diem will be covered. Space is limited. To
apply, complete the
Application and submit it to OPD by June 17, 2013.
Washington Supreme Court Order No. 25700-a-1016 (April 8, 2013)
The Supreme Court has delayed the misdemeanor caseload certification
until January 1, 2015, and has directed State OPD to conduct an
attorney time study and develop a model policy for case-weighting.
Report to the
Washington Supreme Court on the Implementation of Standards for
Indigent Defense (March 15, 2013)
This report includes information on reductions in criminal charge
filings, an inventory of diversion programs, information on local
case-weighting systems, and a discussion of the impact of
inexperience or experience on an attorney’s caseload capability.
Public Defense Certification Requirements
CrR 3.1, CrRlJ 3.1, JuCR 9.2 establishing new certification
requirements and the Washington Supreme Court's new Standards for Indigent
Defense are available at this link to the
OPD’s Parents Representation
Program provides defense services to parents involved in dependency
and termination of parental rights proceedings. OPD sets manageable
caseload limits, implements professional standards of practice and
provides access to expert and case support services, so that program
attorneys can better assist their clients. The Parents
Representation Program is established in 25 counties.
OPD administers a program for the improvement of trial level public
defense, under RCW 10.101. This law provides for state funding
to counties and cities to upgrade public defense services.
OPD contracts with over 40 attorneys to represent indigent
appellants in cases where federal and state constitutions and state
statutes guarantee the right to counsel. These include
criminal cases as well as other cases involving basic rights such
as dependency proceedings, parental rights terminations, criminal
contempt convictions, and involuntary civil commitments.
All OPD services are
provided by a 15 person staff, consisting of the director, deputy
director, social services manager, appellate program manager, three parents’
representation program managers, three public defense
services managers, a 71.09 program manager, an executive assistant, two administrative
assistant, and a fiscal/budget manager.