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: 

Senate Unanimously Passes NGRI bill (SSB 5415)

Watch the March 6, 2023 Washington State Senate floor debate on SSB 5415.  Video exitingwebsite


A Conversation with Washington State Representative Debra Entenman

A conversation with Washington State Representative, Debra Entenman and Larry Jefferson Jr., Director of the Office of Public Defense. They discuss how the Office of Public Defense operates and how the State Legislature can support their work.  Videoexitingwebsite


Washington Prison Mishandled Court Mail, Impeded Access to Justice

Officials delayed the delivery of critical documents for months, leading to the premature dismissal of at least two appeals filed by incarcerated men. View full story.exitingwebsite


A Conversation with Washington Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven C. González

Interview on January 23, 2023 He discusses diversity on the bench, state and federal constitutions, jury diversity, and the role of state courts in protecting rights.  Video | Transcriptexitingwebsite


Juror Demographic Survey Project

The 2022 Interim Report titled "Statewide Juror Summons Demographic Survey Project An Analysis of Selected County Data" is now available on the Washington State Administrative Office of the Courts website.


Proposal for the Administration of Defense Services under Chapter 10.77 RCW

Pursuant to a proviso in the 2022 supplemental state operating budget, OPD developed a Proposal to provide indigent defense in post-commitment insanity acquittal cases under Chapter 10.77 RCW. If approved by the Legislature, OPD would contract with qualified attorneys to provide representation in ongoing legal proceedings for persons who are found “not guilty by reason of insanity” and committed to state psychiatric care.


FIJ Quarterly Highlights OPD's Contributions to Keeping Families Together

The Fall 2022 edition of the Family Integrity & Justice Quarterly has been published.  OPD’s Parent Representation Co-Lead Managing Attorney Amelia Watson has written a compelling article, featured on page 42, titled “Family Is in a Child’s Best Interest".  Journal exitingwebsite 


Employment and Contract Opportunities

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.  

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