Policy and Partnerships
Fighting for fairness and compassion
DPD's mission is not only to provide high-quality representation but to also challenge the practices and policies that keep DPD's clients entangled in a harsh and unfair system. DPD's goal is to work with partners to dismantle the systems that oppress our clients. Where traditional systems remain, DPD is partnering with the community, litigating, and drawing upon the expertise of its staff to make those systems less harmful and more restorative.
Read more about our policy work on our blog, For The Defense.
DPD in the news
Seattle, King County bills would require legal advice for youth before questioning by police, Seattle Times, Aug. 17, 2020
King County inmates face even more time alone during COVID-19, Crosscut, July 24, 2020
Seattle City Council votes to repeal loitering laws, but groups say much more is needed, Seattle Times, June 23, 2020
Reform isn't enough; region's police need radical restructuring, Seattle Times, June 15, 2020
Your right to a jury trial is on hold. Here's how coronavirus is changing the system, Seattle Times, June 2, 2020
People arrested during protests remain jailed after threats close King County Superior Court, Seattle Times, June 1, 2020
For mentally ill defendants, coronavirus means few safe options, The Marshall Project, May 15, 2020
Steady arrests risk COVID-19 spread beyond jail walls, advocates say, Crosscut, April 27, 2020
Washington's foster care system indicts itself by placing kids in hotels, commentary by Tara Urs, Crosscut, Feb. 26, 2020
Increase jury pay to address racial bias in criminal justice system, commentary by Anita Khandelwal and Michele Storms, Seattle Times, Oct. 27, 2019
New Plan for Dealing with 'Prolific Offenders' Substitutes Punishment for Harm Reduction, Advocates Say, The C is for Crank, Sept. 17, 2019
10 Critical Reforms Local Prosecutors Should Embrace, NW Lawyer, June 2019
Controversial Seattle judge sees flurry of cases pulled by public defenders, Crosscut, May 17, 2019
Jailing runaways does not keep them safe, commentary by Anita Khandelwal, Seattle Times, March 17, 2019
Public defenders to help some in King County remove 'scarlet letter' of criminal conviction from their record, Seattle Times, March 11, 2019
Washington handles runaway foster kids with handcuffs, shackles and jail. Is there a better way?, Seattle Times, Feb. 17, 2019
Combat Seattle's street crime with treatment and housing, not jail, commentary by Anita Khandelwal, Seattle Times, Nov. 16, 2018
Statements, reports, and position papers
Economic duress legislation
DPD is working on draft legislation that would expand the duress defense in Seattle Municipal Court to include behavior that had to do with a person's effort to meet a basic need or behavior that occurred due to symptoms of a behavioral health disorder.
Statement about people denied right to appear before a judge because of an unspecified threat
DPD Director Anita Khandelwal issued a statement on June 1, 2020, about the King County Superior Court's decision to close all operations due to unspecified "civil disturbances," depriving people incarcerated prior to being charged in jail an extra day. She also expressed concerns about the King County Prosecutor's refusal to determine who could be released on their own recognizance. Read her complete statement.
Statement about strategies proposed by High-Barrier Individuals Working Group
DPD Director Anita Khandelwal issued a statement on Sept. 13, 2019, expressing concerns about the four pilot strategies released by the High-Barrier Individuals Working Group. The pilots largely 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.
Study by UW on racial diversity of jury pools
The Under-Representation of Blacks in the King County Jury Pool, by Katherine Beckett, University of Washington, May 2016
DPD's 2019 Annual Report
DPD's 2018 Annual Report
DPD's 2017 Annual Report
DPD's 2016 Annual Report
DPD's 2015 Annual Report