Public Defense Improvement Program

Technical Assistance for Counties and Cities

OPD provides technical assistance to cities and counties that are looking for information and/or feedback on the design and implementation of their public defense delivery systems. Applying the principles already established in national and state public defense guiding authorities such as Chapter 10.101 RCWexitingwebsite, the Washington State Bar Association Standards for Indigent Defense Servicesexitingwebsite, the Washington State Supreme Court Standards for Indigent Defense, Wilbur v. Mt. Vernon, and the American Bar Association’s Ten Principles of a Public Defense Delivery Systemexitingwebsite, OPD reviews, makes recommendations, and shares examples from other jurisdictions on topics including, but not limited to the following:

  • Public Defense Contracts
  • Attorney Compensation Structures
  • Local Public Defense Standards as required by RCW 10.101.030exitingwebsite
  • Client Complaint Procedures and Forms
  • Indigency Screening as required by RCW 10.101.020exitingwebsite
  • Caseload Monitoring
  • Timing and Coordination of Appointment of Counsel
  • Resources for Attorney Training and Technical Assistance
  • Certification and Attorney Compliance with Supreme Court Rules
  • Case Weighting Policies

Depending on staff availability, OPD typically travels to jurisdictions for face-to-face meetings, which are commonly combined with courtroom observations. Alternatively, OPD is available to provide assistance through phone consultation.

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