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Welcome to AWC’s online library of Legislative Bulletin and CityVoice news articles and other updates.

Published on Friday, March 21, 2014

Indigent Defense caseload standards implementation

The indigent defense caseload standards for misdemeanor cases are set to take effect January 2015.  Under the new standard, cities are able to develop a case weighting system.  The Washington Supreme Court directed the state Office of Public Defense (OPD) to conduct a misdemeanor time study, and with those findings, develop a Model Misdemeanor Case Weighting Policy (Model Policy) to assist local governments that choose to engage in case weighting.  

OPD is now soliciting comments on the proposed model policy.  AWC is working with the Municipal Attorney Association to develop a comment letter.  We would welcome any comments you may have on the draft policy so that we can include them in the comment letter.  Send your feedback to candiceb@awcnet.org. We also encourage cities to comment directly to OPD no later than March 31 at opd@opd.wa.gov

Indigent defense funding proposal fails to pass

SB 6249 Legislation that would have provided some additional options for additional funding of indigent defense costs failed to pass this session.  SB 6249 passed the Senate late in the session, but didn’t have sufficient time or support to move forward in the House.  We greatly appreciate the work of Sen. Bruce Dammeier (R-Puyallup), prime sponsor of the bill, and Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D -Tacoma), Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, who both worked very hard to try to advance the bill.  Unfortunately, there were significant concerns about the impact the proposal would have had on already indigent defendants. 

Chair Jinkins and Ranking Member Rep. Jay Rodne (R-North Bend) of the House Judiciary Committee have asked the Office of Public Defense to convene an interim work group to look at the additional costs of indigent defense and explore alternatives for reducing costs.  Cities will be included in the work group and hopefully it will lead to some solutions.  

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