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Department of Public Defense

Providing high-quality legal representation and advocacy for indigent clients in King County

Department of Public Defense
Phone: 206-296-7662
Fax: 206-296-0587
TTY: 711 Relay Service

Administration Only:
Chinook Building
401 5th Ave, Suite 550
Seattle, WA 98104

Screening Locations:

Maleng Regional Justice Center
401 4th Ave. N.
Room 1-B (1101)
Kent, WA 98032

King County Courthouse
516 Third Avenue, E-820 Seattle, WA 98104

Department of Youth Services                           1211 East Alder, #346 Seattle, WA 98122

Public Records Request Information here


OPD Banner  Youth   Law books Attorney at work Regional Justice Center 

Welcome to the King County Department of Public Defense (DPD). We provide legal help to people who are accused of a crime and cannot afford an attorney. We also provide legal help to people who cannot afford an attorney and are facing certain other matters such as juvenile dependency, civil commitment, or civil contempt.

How do I ... 

    know if I'm eligible for an attorney?

    find a screening office?

    figure out who my attorney is?


DPD (previously the Office of Public Defense) is a new department within King County. It currently has four divisions, each with its own staff of public defenders, investigators, social workers and paralegals. The county also has a panel of assigned counsel, attorneys who provide legal work for the County on a contractual basis.

The department’s attorneys are highly skilled and dedicated and are committed to ensuring quality legal representation and advocacy for anyone facing a criminal charge, in keeping with both the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution. DPD staff also tries to help clients address the underlying issues that brought them into the criminal justice system by placing them in drug treatment programs, mental health programs, or other alternatives to incarceration. The department strives to connect clients to a holistic suite of services – from housing to job training – so as to break the cycles that can lead to arrest.

Anyone facing a criminal charge, civil commitment, or a dependency proceeding - and who is found to be income-eligible - is entitled to a public defender, as are children facing contempt of court in truancy proceedings. To find out if you qualify for DPD services see who we serve. Here is where to find out how to get an attorney. Even if you do not qualify for help from DPD, you can still find out about other local low-cost legal resources on our web site.


David K. Chapman
Director, Department of Public Defense

Department of Public Defense News

New documentary features work of King County public defenders


"Tough Love," an acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal, chronicles the lives of two parents as each fights to be reunited with children taken out of their homes. One of those parents, Patrick Brown, is a Seattle father who was represented by two Department of Public Defense attorneys, Alena Ciecko and Patricia Penn. The film provides an intimate look at his struggles and that of a mother in New York City, both of whom are determined to put their families back together again.

The 83-minute film was released earlier this year to excellent reviews. It will premiere in Seattle at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22, at the Uptown SIFF Theater. A panel discussion featuring Alena Ciecko, Superior Court Judge Julia Garratt, recently retired Judge Patricia Clark and others in the film, will follow the screening. For ticket information, visit SIFF Cinema Uptown's website

Above: A still from "Tough Love" shows Superior Court Judges Julia Garratt (at the podium) and Patricia Clark during a proceeding with Patrick Brown and his young daughter.

Recruitment begins for Public Defender

King County has begun recruiting for the position of Public Defender, as required by King County Code 2.60.026 (B(2)), which requires the Executive to conduct a national search to fill the permanent position. Go here to learn more about the position and the search process.

New Public Defense Advisory Board established by Executive, County Council

King County has created a new 11-member Public Defense Advisory Board, a panel that will play a significant role in shaping the direction of the new Department of Public Defense. King County Executive Dow Constantine recently submitted to the County Council his 11 appointees to the new board. On July 14, the Council confirmed the 11 appointees, making them the first members of this new board. Go here to read about the 11 members. 

The advisory board held its first meeting on Aug. 12. Go here to learn about upcoming meetings.  

Information for Clients 

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are here for you.

Find out How to Get an Attorney.

Information for Attorneys

Subscribe to "For The Defense"

Interested in learning more about King County’s new Department of Public Defense? Click to subscribe to “For The Defense,” a periodic newsletter that explores public defense issues, celebrates our employees and provides ongoing information about the department. In the June issue, you'll find articles about competency restoration, the new Public Defense Advisory Board, a volunteer-run Juvenile Record Sealing Project, and much more ...