For Cities, Counties, & Courts

We offer city and county officials researching Washington State public defense programs and policies with a wealth of resources, including 10.101 RCW Public Defense Improvement Program grant information, administration tools, indigency screening guidance, and technical assistance for municipalities. Additionally, we provide assistance regarding the Youth Advocacy Clinic (YAC) Program and a repository of key cases and analysis concerning public defense administration, along with access to the Standards page for attorneys seeking comprehensive information on public defense standards in the state.

10.101 Public Defense Improvement Program: This program provides funding to counties and cities to improve their public defense systems and comply with state standards. OPD monitors and evaluates the use of grant funds and provides technical assistance to grantees. Learn more.

Simple Possession Advocacy and Representation (SPAR) Program: This program provides funding to qualifying counties and cities to assist in providing public defense services for persons charged with drug possession offenses in courts of limited jurisdiction. Learn more

Public Defense Administration Resources: This page contains information and guidance on various aspects of public defense administration, such as contracting, caseload management, data collection, reporting, and quality assurance. Learn more.

Indigency Screening: This page provides tools and best practices for screening clients for eligibility for public defense services based on their financial status. It also includes a sample indigency affidavit form and a link to the OPD Indigency Calculator. Learn more.

Youth Access to Counsel (YAC): This program provides informational and contact resources for local governments’ responsibilities in providing access to legal counsel for youths under RCW 13.40.740. It also includes Youth Access to Counsel contact information for law enforcement, as well as information to ensure best compliance with the statutory requirements. Learn more.

Standards for Public Defense Services: These standards establish the minimum requirements for the delivery of public defense services in Washington State. They cover topics such as qualifications, training, supervision, caseload limits, performance, and independence of counsel. Learn more.

Technical Assistance for Counties and Cities: OPD provides technical assistance to counties and cities on request or as part of the 10.101 Public Defense Improvement Program. Technical assistance may include reviewing contracts, policies, procedures, data, reports, or other documents; conducting site visits, interviews, or surveys; providing feedback, recommendations, or best practices; facilitating stakeholder meetings or trainings; or assisting with grant applications or compliance. Learn more.

Key Cases and Analysis: This page contains summaries and analysis of key cases that affect public defense administration and practice in Washington State. Learn more.

Extraordinary Criminal Justice Costs Act: We offer a way for counties to seek reimbursement from the State, under  RCW 43.330.190. Together with the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, we carefully prioritize county requests for reimbursement, especially when high costs in aggravated murder cases disproportionately impact county budgets. Included on this page are the annual prioritized lists for reimbursement as well as the legislative appropriations from those years.