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The Department of Public Defense (DPD) provides legal representation to adults and juveniles who have been charged with a crime and cannot afford an attorney, as well as people facing civil commitment, parents who could lose their children in a dependency petition, and people seeking to vacate a past felony or misdemeanor conviction. DPD works to address racial disproportionality in the criminal legal system, the collateral consequences of justice involvement, and other structural and systemic issues that undermine the rights of the criminally accused.

In 2018, DPD represented 15,313 individuals in King County courts and handled 6,831 filings in Seattle Municipal Court. Read more in about DPD's work in its 2019 annual report.

Youth: Know your rights!

Watch a new video (below) that features three young people delivering a powerful message born of their own experiences in King County. When stopped by the police, they urge viewers, ask if you're free to leave. If you're not, ask for a lawyer, then stay quiet. This "know your rights" video was produced by DPD with the Seattle-based nonprofit Creative Justice and Block by Block Creative.


What's new?

DPD is hiring!

We're looking for an assigned counsel coordinator, a great opportunity for someone with a deep commitment to public defense and an interest in managing an important program. The assigned counsel coordinator oversees a panel of skilled attorneys who provide legal representation when the department's four divisions cannot do so due to a conflict. Read more about this excellent opportunity. 

A new unit helps people clear their records 

DPD has started a new unit that helps people with prior convictions get those convictions vacated. Under state law, many convictions can be vacated, provided enough time has passed. For certain non-violent Class B felonies, one can file a motion to vacate 10 years after completion of the sentence; for non-violent Class C felonies, the wait is five years. For certain misdemeanors, the wait is three years. Call Joey Feng at 206-263-3658 for more information.

DPD provides on-call attorney services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 206-477-8899. This service is available to anyone in custody in King County or under investigation who is seeking the advice of an attorney. It is also available to a police agency seeking the involvement of legal counsel.

King County Public Defender
Anita Khandelwal

If you'd like to invite Anita or someone else from the Department of Public Defense to speak to your organization, please send your request to DPD at

For media inquiries, please contact Leslie Brown, communications manager, at 206-263-1364 or at