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At a Glance (as of 2013)

Percentage of state funding: 20%
Percentage of local funding: 80%
Percentage of alternative funding: 0%
State commission: none
Branch of government: judicial


Structure & Funding of Indigent Defense Services

Indigent defense services in the state of Washington are, for the most part, entirely county funded. The Office of Public Defense (OPD) provides direct representation, through contracts with private attorneys in direct appeals and civil commitment cases, as well as dependency and termination of parental rights in a limited number of counties. The OPD director is an appointee of the Supreme Court, though there is a legislatively derived 11-person advisory committee made up of diverse appointing authorities to assist in the promulgation of policies. Though there is no statewide commission overseeing the effectiveness of representation, the Washington Supreme Court has promulgated a number of rules impacting how services are provided, including banning flat fee contracting, establishing performance standards, and implementing caseload controls.


Statutory Authority

RCW 10.101.005 through 10.101.900

Source of data: original research conducted by Sixth Amendment Center staff, augmented by the American Bar Association, State, County and Local Indigent Defense Expenditures, Fiscal Year 2008, November 2010.