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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 action, 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 system involvement, and other structural and systemic issues that undermine the rights of our clients.

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


Legal services and advocacy

DPD provides legal services to adults and youth facing a potential loss of liberty. Learn if you qualify and how to seek legal help. 


Employment and internships

DPD is an excellent place to work. We hire people who have a passion for public defense and a commitment to social justice.


Policy and partnerships

DPD works with partners to address systemic and structural issues that harm our clients and their communities.

Videos by DPD

What to Do If Your Child Is Removed by CPS

One of the most painful experiences a parent can face is the removal of their child by CPS. DPD's new video explores this difficult issue, profiling two parents who experienced both removal and reunification and who have guidance to offer others as a result. 

Know Your Rights!

This video 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. 


What's new?

DPD issues statement in response to High-Barrier Individuals Working Group's proposed pilots

DPD Director Anita Khandelwal issued a statement about her concerns with the four pilot strategies released Sept. 12 by the High-Barrier Individuals Working Group. For the most part, the pilots fail to address what DPD knows our clients need -- long-term housing and community-based services -- as opposed to more involvement in the criminal legal system. Read her complete statement

DPD is recruiting interns!

DPD is recruiting for its 10-week summer internship program beginning in June 2020. This is an excellent opportunity to explore a career in public defense. Read more about our internship program and how to apply. 

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. That means you can legally state on job applications, housing applications, and other forms that you have never been convicted of a crime. Read more about this new unit.

DPD provides on-call attorney services seven days a week. If it is after normal business hours and the police want to question you or you're facing another situation that requires immediate legal help, please call 206-477-8899. During business hours, please call our main office at 206-296-7662.

King County Public Defender
Anita Khandelwal

If you'd like to invite Anita to speak to your organization, please email DPD at Visit this page to read a brief bio about Anita and to learn about the members of her management team.

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