The Washington State Office of Public Defense (OPD) was established by the Legislature in 1996 as an independent agency of the judicial branch “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. 

The Mission of OPD is to uphold the rights of all people who are facing the loss of liberty or family by providing statewide leadership, administration and support to the multidisciplinary public defense profession. 

Indigent defense services administered by OPD:

OPD cannot provide direct representation of clients, pursuant to RCW 2.70.020.The previous hyperlink exits the OPD website.

Featured News: 

2022 Criminal Defense Training Academy

OPD is now accepting applications for its 2022 Criminal Defense Training Academy. This four-day training program is designed for new defenders to improve their representation and trial advocacy skills through a combination of lectures and interactive exercises. Space is limited. The course will take place Oct. 7-8 online and Nov. 3-5 in Spokane. See our flyer and registration links for more details.  

General Rule 42

The Washington Supreme Court has signed and filed Order 25700-A-1451, which includes new General Rule 42 pertaining to the independence of public defense services.  General Rule 42 will prohibit judges and judicial staff in both superior courts and courts of limited jurisdiction from selecting the attorneys who provide public defense services and the public defense administrators. The rule takes effect on January 1, 2023.  OPD Memo [PDF].


Youth Access to Counsel Hotline

The Youth Access to Counsel (YAC) Line is now live. Law Enforcement officers looking to reach an attorney for consultations required under RCW 13.40.740 can contact 1-877-J-PUB-DEF (1-877-578-2333) or (360) 252-9656.  Attorneys are available 24/7 to provide consultations with youth.


Employment and Contract Opportunities

Join the OPD Team- Data Analyst.  Full Details [PDF]

Join the OPD Team- Paralegal.  Full Details [PDF]

Request for Qualifications for Attorney in Okanogan County. RFQ23002 [PDF]

Request for Qualifications for Blake Attorneys in Okanogan County.  RFQ23001 [PDF]


Protecting the Independence of Public Defenders

Bob Boruchowitz and Larry Jefferson write this month in the Washington State Bar News to safeguard independence of the public defense function. https://wabarnews.org/2022/06/09/protecting-the-independence-of-public-defenders/


TVW- The Impact: a discussion of proposed rules for juvenile defendants 

A discussion of proposed rules for juvenile defendants that would substitute initials for names in court records and mandate the records remain offline.  A conversation with Larry Jefferson, Director of the Washington State Office of Public Defense and Russ Brown, Executive Director of the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.  5-25-22 Videoexitingwebsite 


COVID-19 and Public Defense

The COVID-19 pandemic have had significant impacts on public defense. The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Council on Public Defense promulgated comments [PDF] on public defense caseloads during COVID-19. This is not a new rule, but rather guidance on existing rules given the current challenging environment and changing patterns of criminal and juvenile filings. Additionally, OPD collaborated with WDA and WACLD to conduct a statewide survey of defense attorneys to better understand working conditions during the pandemic. The survey results are summarized in the report Defending Clients in the COVID-19 Environment: Survey Results from Private and Public Defense Counsel [PDF]



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