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.
OPD contracts with attorneys to represent indigent parents, custodians and legal guardians involved in child dependency and termination of parental rights proceedings.
The program operates in 31 of Washington's 39 counties: Asotin, Benton, Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Cowlitz, Ferry, Franklin, Garfield, Grant, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, King, Klickitat, Kitsap, Kittitas, Mason, Pacific, Pend Oreille, Pierce, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Spokane, Stevens, Thurston, Wahkiakum, Whatcom, Whitman, and Yakima.
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.
OPD administers a public defense improvement program under Chapter 10.101 RCW 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.
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 RCW(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.
The Extraordinary Criminal Justice Costs Act, RCW 43.330.190, 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.