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.

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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.


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. 


2019 Status Report on Local Criminal Public Defense Issues

The 2019 Status Report on Public Defense in Washington State [PDF] discusses recent trends in criminal public defense services, highlights annual accomplishments of OPD's Defense Improvement Program, and lists counties' and cities' statistics relating to public defense services.


Tools for Implementing the Supreme Court's Standards for Indigent Defense

To assist in implementation of the Supreme Court Standards for Indigent Defense, OPD has developed a series of short web tutorials, an FAQ, sample caseload calculators, and a customizable Model Misdemeanor Case Weighting Policy .   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..

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