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About WDA

This folder contains general information about WDA.

WDA Contact Information
110 Prefontaine Place South Suite 610
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: (206) 623-4321
Fax: (206) 623-5420
Email: wda@defensenet.org

The Washington Defender Association has been committed to improving the quality of the criminal defense bar in Washington and in working for improved funding for public defense since 1983.

WDA provides its members with access to the most recent developments in criminal law through training seminars, publications, and its resource assistance. Members include the various types of public defender offices that operate in each county, individual attorneys who take indigent cases and persons who are interested in forwarding the cause of ensuring quality defense for all indigent persons.

Resources

WDA is the leading resource organization for public defenders in Washington State, and the only organization dedicated solely to public defense issues, public defense attorneys, investigators and social workers. WDA provides a host of resources designed to help our members and the broader public defense community.

While many of the resources here are available to the public, some are reserved for members and Washington State indigent defenders, including some WDA publications and case law updates.  Other areas of this site are reserved for members only, including an expert bank, a brief bank, and streaming audio and video from past CLE productions.  Follow this link for information on Membership Benefits, or to join, print out the form provided here: Membership Form.

WDA is the voice of indigent defense in Olympia and Washington DC, advocating on behalf of indigent defense issues and the people who are affected by these issues. We work actively to oppose legislation which would seriously undermine constitutional protections for people accused of crimes. WDA supports positive legislation which would help fund indigent defense services or otherwise assist public defense agencies in protecting the rights of the accused. In addition, we support efforts which would provide alternatives to incarceration when appropriate. WDA was instrumental in passage of HB 1542 which provides state funding to public defenders and reinforces WDA's standards for public defense services. WDA's standards have been endorsed by the Washington State Bar Association and are referenced in RCW 10.101.

Please read the WSBA Indigent Defense Standards or RCW 10.101.

Accomplishments

  • Created the Standards for Public Defense Services which were endorsed by the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and are referenced in RCW 10.101. 
  • Established and participed in numerous task forces on public defense services that have led to reforms including passage of RCW 10.101 in 1989 which mandated that local government’s establish standards. 
  • Drafted language and worked for passage of the establishment of the Washington State Office of Public Defense.
  • Advocated for the establishment of the WSBA’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Public Defense and its successor the Committee on Public Defense.
  • Drafted language and worked to pass 2005 legislative reforms that provide state funding to counties for public defense services if they endeavor to meet standards.
  • Provided over 200 Continuing Legal Education Seminars and responded to over 20,000 technical assistance requests through the WDA Immigration Project and other issue-focused projects including assistance on defending drug cases, clients with special needs, juveniles, children’s representation, and sentencing advocacy.  Provide technical assistance for felony and misdemeanor public defenders through state Office of Public Defense funding.
  • Recipient of a national award in honor of its work to fund and expand TeamChild.
  • Established annual defender conference that provides training and networking support to over 200 defender lawyers and support staff each year.
  • Appeared as amicus counsel in two dozen state and federal appellate court cases, addressing right to counsel, sentencing, immigration, and evidentiary issues.
  • Provide national and state legislative advocacy to improve public defense services and to protect the rights of public defense clients.  Together with national and state prosecutors have helped pass the J.R. Justice Act which will provide student loan forgiveness to public defenders and prosecutors.
  • Represented defenders' interests in a variety of committees, including the Washington State Law and Justice Advisory Committee, the Washington State Byrne Committee, Washington State Bar Association committees, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the American Council of Chief Defenders.

WDA Staff

For a complete listing of staff, follow this link to the Staff Directory.

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