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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 Director Position Recruitment

Issued:  November 23, 2020

Ends:  January 2, 2021

The Washington Supreme Court appoints the OPD Director from a list of three names submitted by the OPD Advisory Committee, a 13-member committee established by statute to advise the agency, review its budget, make policy recommendations, and review the director’s performance. The OPD Director’s statutory duties are established in RCW 2.70.020exitingwebsite and include, among others, the following:

Administer state-funded contracts for public defense services for

      • Appellate indigent defense
        • Parent representation in dependency and termination of parental rights cases
        • Sex offender civil commitment cases
        •  Administer local trial court improvement grants under RCW 10.101
      •  Establish administrative procedures, standards and guidelines for the office’s program areas
      • Provide oversight and technical assistance to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of services in the office’s program areas
      • Recommend criteria and standards for determining and verifying indigency
      • Collect information regarding indigent defense services funded by the state and report annually to the OPD Advisory Committee, the Legislature and the Supreme Court.

  pdficon grsmall View Full Details [PDF]

  docicon blsmall  State Application [DOCX]


Featured News: 

Public Defense Reimbursement Available for 2020 COVID-Related Expenses

In 2020 many public defense providers purchased PPE and technology to continue representing clients in a safe and distanced manner. Public defense providers may now submit applications to OPD for reimbursement of these costs. Completed applications docicon blsmall must be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and will be reviewed until funds are no longer available. Please see the application docicon blsmall for complete instructions.

 

Grant Funds Available for COVID-Related Workload Increases

Applications [PDF] federal grant funds are now available to reimburse certain increased public defense costs attributable to COVID-19-related court shutdowns and delays. Limited funds are available to address a backlog or surge of public defense cases. Counties, cities, public defense non-profit agencies, and private firms dedicated to public defense services are welcome to apply. Applications [PDF] are due by Wednesday, November 4. Please carefully review the mandatory federal eligibility requirements [PDF] before applying.

 

COVID-19 Guidance for Public Defense Attorneys, as approved by WSBA 

The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Council on Public Defense has 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. For assistance with administration of trial-level public defense services and implementation of the WA Supreme Court’s Standards on Indigent Defense, contact OPD’s Public Defense Improvement Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

Disproportionality Advocacy

Disproportionality resources to build upon advocacy strategies for using data to show how race impacts various points of a case and case outcomes.


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.

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