Office of Public Defense - Current Law

RCW 2.70

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.

Agency Mission

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.
Request 156,829,000
Net change from current biennium 39,503,000 Increase
Percent change from current biennium 33.7% Increase

Operating Budget: Summary

Appropriated Funds

2021-23 Appropriations Appropriated Funds Expenditures
Amount Estimated Balance   2019-21 Actual 2021-23 Estimated 2023-25 Proposed
362,000 General Fund - Federal 1,342,929 362,000 385,000
30,000 30,000 General Fund - Private/Local 30,000
113,057,000 General Fund - State 93,118,001 113,057,000 140,604,000
3,907,000 Judicial Stabilization Trust Acct - State 3,809,000 3,907,000 15,840,000
Pension Funding Stabilization Acct - State 278,000
117,356,000 30,000 Total Appropriated Funds 98,577,930 117,326,000 156,829,000

Non-Appropriated Funds

Operating Budget: Program Summary

Program Title Actual Estimated Proposed
Actual Estimated Estimated Proposed Proposed
Annual Total 50,570,659 54,286,001 13,213,233 78,358,000 78,471,000

Operating Budget: Change from Preceding Biennium

Actual Estimated Proposed
Amount Percent Amount Percent Amount Percent
8,391,963 9.3% (31,078,696) (31.5%) 89,329,766 132.3%

Employment Summary

  Actual Estimated Proposed
  2020-21 Actual 2021-22 Estimated 2022-23 Estimated 2023-24 Proposed 2024-25 Proposed
FTE Staff Years 20.6 27.7 33.0 42.1 42.8