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 indigent defense services in the following areas:

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

Featured News

Workgroup on the Costs of Providing Misdemeanor Public Defense

At the pdficon grsmall  request of the House Judiciary Committee, OPD has convened an interim workgroup to examine the cost of misdemeanour public defense in Washington’s courts of limited jurisdiction.  The workgroup issued a pdficon grsmall  report December 4..

FAQ on Implementation of the Supreme Court Standards for Indigent Defense

To assist local jurisdictions, attorneys and courts implement the Supreme Court’s Standards for Indigent Defense, OPD has developed an FAQ.  Additional questions or requests for technical assistance can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Certification to Misdemeanor Caseloads

The Washington Supreme Court has delayed misdemeanor caseload certification until January 1, 2015.  pdficon grsmallWashington Supreme Court Order No. 25700-A-1016 (April 8, 2013)  OPD has developed a Model Misdemeanor Case Weighting Policy to assist local jurisdictions that choose to use case weighting for calulating caseloads.

U.S. District Court Rules on Public Defense Services

In the case of Wilbur v. City of Mount Vernon, et. al., the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington held that the named cities are liable under 42 U.S.C. §1983 for the systemic flaws that deprived indigent criminal defendants of their Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of Counsel.  pdficon grsmall  December 4, 2013 -Memorandum of Decision 

2013 Status Report on Public Defense in Washington State

The eighth annual Status Report summarizes OPD’s continued progress in activities targeted to improve indigent defense services in the trial courts.  pdficon grsmall 2013 Status Report on Public Defense in Washington State

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