The Washington Court of Appeals will appoint an appellate attorney at public expense in any case where there is a right to counsel on appeal. A party seeking appointment of counsel on appeal must establish:
- A federal or state constitutional or a statutory right to counsel; and
- That the party is indigent, i.e. unable by reason of poverty to pay for all or some of the expenses of appellate review. The procedure for establishing indigency and right to counsel are found in RAP Title 15.
Criminal defendants have a right to counsel to appeal the judgment and sentence.
Criminal defendants do NOT have a right to counsel to seek discretionary review. The appellate court will appoint appellate counsel only if it grants review of the case.
Dependency and Termination Cases
Parents in dependency and termination cases have a right to counsel at all stages of proceedings including both appeals as of right and discretionary review.
Sexually Violent Predators
Respondents in SVP cases have a right to counsel at all stages of proceedings including both appeals as of right and discretionary review.
See RAP 15.2. for other categories of cases where counsel will be appointed on appeal.
Appeal as of Right vs. Discretionary Review
There are two ways to bring a case up for appellate review from the Superior Court:
An Appeal is the term used to refer to review sought as a matter of right. A decision that may be appealed as of right generally means some final judgment or action of the trial court.
Discretionary Review is the term that applies to all other cases where there is no right to review. This includes review of interlocutory orders made before or during the course of the trial. In such cases, the party must ask the appellate court for permission to seek review.