The Office of Public Defense is an independent judicial branch agency that implements the constitutional and statutory right to counsel. The Office of Public Defense Advisory Committee is composed of legislators, judicial representatives, attorneys, county and city representatives, and lay persons.
The office is charged with administering state funds for trial court criminal indigent defense under chapter 10.101 RCW; appellate indigent defense, representation of indigent parents in dependency and termination cases under RCW 13.34.090 and 13.34.092; representation of indigent respondents in civil commitment cases under chapter 71.09 RCW; and with ensuring effective and efficient services and providing oversight and technical assistance for these programs. In addition, the Office of Public Defense administers extraordinary criminal justice cost petitions pursuant to RCW 43.330.190 and compiles copies of DNA test requests in accordance with RCW 10.73.170. The office also recommends criteria and standards for determining indigency and collects information and reports annually on indigent defense services funded by the state.
The Office of Public Defense's duties are 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.