Youth Access to Counsel

Effective January 1, 2022, OPD will administer a statewide telephonic hotline pursuant to RCW 13.40.740 to ensure that attorneys are available on-demand to consult with youth who come into contact with law enforcement and are asked to waive a constitutional right.


Appellate Program

OPD contracts with attorneys to represent indigent appellants in cases where federal and state constitutions and state statutes guarantee the right to counsel on appeal. 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.

Parents Representation Program

OPD contracts with attorneys to represent indigent parents, custodians and legal guardians involved in child dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings.

Effective July 1, 2018, the program operates in all 39 Washington counties.

Key elements of the Parents Representation Program include: caseload limits and professional attorney standards; access to expert services and independent social workers; OPD oversight; and ongoing training and support.

Public Defense Improvement Program

OPD administers a public defense improvement program under Chapter 10.101 RCWExiting the OPD website  This law provides state funding to counties and cities for improving public defense services.  OPD also provides training and additional resource support for local public defense attorneys.

RCW 71.09 Civil Commitment

As required by state statute, OPD contracts with attorneys statewide to represent indigent respondents who have a right to legal counsel in civil commitment proceedings under Chapter 71.09 RCWExiting the OPD website(sexually violent predator).   In accordance with statutes, court rules and court orders, OPD also administers payments for investigators, expert witnesses and other professional services necessary to support an adequate defense.

Extraordinary Criminal Justice Costs Act

The Extraordinary Criminal Justice Costs Act, RCW 43.330.190Exiting the OPD website, establishes a procedure for counties to request reimbursement for costs incurred in aggravated murder cases. The Washington State Office of Public Defense processes the petitions in consultation with the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, and submits a prioritized list of petitions that are recommended for funding to the Legislature.

Disproportionality Legal Training Coordinator

OPD is dedicated to excellence in public law and indigent defense. OPD directly contracts with more than 240 attorneys and independent social service specialists to represent indigent clients statewide.

The duties of this position focus on collaboratively developing high impact training unitizing legal principles and incorporating data resources and data visualizations to advocate for clients.

This position also provides expert consultation to attorneys seeking technical assistance on specific issues relating to institutional, systemic and structural racism in the legal systems

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