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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 2019, DPD represented 16,244 individuals in King County courts and handled 6,924 filings in Seattle Municipal Court. Read more about DPD's work in its 2020 Annual Report

DPD is working to keep our clients and employees safe during the public health crisis posed by COVID-19. Read more.


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 news release regarding court operations during the COVID-19 pandemic

The King County Department of Public Defense (DPD) issued a news release on March 18, 2020, asking the King County Superior Court and the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to temporarily suspend certain criminal proceedings to protect the health and safety of criminal defendants, public defense staff and court personnel. Read the entire release.

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 the police want to question you or you're facing another situation that requires immediate legal help, please call 206-477-8899.

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