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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.  

 


Featured News: 

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.

 

Contract Opportunities

Request for Qualification for Attorneys in Mason County.  RFQ22005 [PDF]

 

TVW- Inside Olympia interview with OPD Director Larry Jefferson

They're two small state offices with big roles in the state's courts. We sit down with Jim Bamberger, director of the WA Office of Civil Legal Aid, and Larry Jefferson Jr., director of the WA Office of Public Defense.  11-11-21 Video exitingwebsite

 

Drug Possession Statute found Unconstitutional - State v. Blake

The Washington Supreme Court decided in State v. Blake  that the state’s main drug possession law RCW 69.50.4013(1) was unconstitutional and “void.” Anyone convicted under this statute (or its earlier versions) may be eligible to have their conviction vacated, legal financial obligations (court fees and fines) reimbursed, and/or be resentenced. People on Department of Corrections (DOC) community custody for this crime may be eligible for a commutation order from the Governor. 

More on Blake

Vacate your conviction and receive reimbursement for your paid LFOs

Commute your Community Corrections sentence

  

Public Defense in Washington Has a New Champion

Wendy Culverwell from the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Businsees interview with Larry Jefferson Jr., director of WA Office of Public Defense.  January 2022- Article exitingwebsite

 

From Prison to Careers in Science

"In the U.S., roughly 1.5 million adults are incarcerated, the most per capita in the world.  Less than 2% enroll in postsecondary classes.  View NOVA PBS January 2022-video.exitingwebsite 

 

How Gender and Race Affect Justice Now

The Washington State Supreme Court Gender and Justice Commission releases the results of its extensive study of gender, race, and other disparities in Washington State’s court and carceral systems. The report covers topics ranging from youth to adults, from civil to criminal, and from one’s ability to access the courts to one’s legal, financial, family, and health impacts of conviction and incarceration at the end of a case. The report also provides recommendations on how to address the problems identified.  

 

COVID-19 and Public Defense

The COVID-19 pandemic have had significant impacts on public defense. The Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) Council on Public Defense 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. Additionally, OPD collaborated with WDA and WACLD to conduct a statewide survey of defense attorneys to better understand working conditions during the pandemic. The survey results are summarized in the report Defending Clients in the COVID-19 Environment: Survey Results from Private and Public Defense Counsel [PDF]

 


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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