Chapter 2.09
OFFICE OF PUBLIC DEFENSE

Sections:

2.09.010    Creation and Purpose.

2.09.020    Definitions.

2.09.030    Authority and Functions.

2.09.040    Indigent Criminal Defense.

2.09.050    Determination of Indigency.

2.09.051    Screening fee imposed.

2.09.060    Pre-Trial Release.

2.09.070    Attorney Administrator.

2.09.080    Standards for Public Defense.

2.09.010 Creation and Purpose.

There is hereby created as an executive department of Snohomish county government an office of public defense. The office shall be responsible for administration of an assigned counsel program to provide indigent criminal defense services in those criminal cases in which a jail sentence is a potential sanction. The office shall also be responsible for administration of a system for providing the court with information pertaining to the setting of bail and release of offenders pending trial.

(Added Ord 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).

2.09.020 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply to terms used in this chapter:

(1) "Office" means the Snohomish county office of public defense.

(2) "Attorney administrator" means the attorney administrator of the Snohomish county office of public defense.

(3) "Indigent" has the same meaning as that term is defined in Chapter 10.101 RCW as now or hereafter amended.

(4) "Exempt personnel system" means the conditions of employment under the provisions of chapter 3.68 SCC and amendments thereto.

(5) "Pre-trial release" means the setting of bail and/or other conditions of release from custody pending hearing or trial.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, Nov. 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date Dec. 13, 2002).

2.09.030 Authority and Functions.

The office shall have the authority to administer the county’s indigent criminal defense program, including contracts for legal services with outside counsel. Upon designation by the court, the office shall also have authority to make determinations of indigency and provide pre-trial release information in a form requested by the court.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001).

2.09.040 Indigent Criminal Defense.

The office shall administer the county’s indigent defense program. In those cases in which a criminal defendant in a Snohomish County court is indigent and has a right to counsel, the office shall provide counsel for the defense. The office shall administer all contracts with private attorneys for the provision of indigent defense services in the district and superior courts, and shall make assignments of counsel who have signed contracts with the office on the basis of experience and qualifications.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, Nov. 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).

2.09.050 Determination of Indigency.

Upon designation by the court, the office shall make determinations of indigency for all persons wishing the appointment of counsel in cases in which the right to counsel attaches. The office shall make determinations of indigency in accordance with policies and procedures approved by the district or superior court, as applicable, and in accordance with the provisions of Ch.10.101 RCW as now or hereafter amended.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).

2.09.051 Screening fee imposed.

(1) Each person who is screened for indigency for appointment of counsel at public expense shall be assessed a screening fee of ten dollars.

(2) The screening fee shall be paid immediately from any money possessed by that person at time of screening.

(3) If the person screened has no funds at the time of screening, the office of public defense may notify the court in the county or city where the charges related to the screening are pending and may request that the court assess the fee.

(4) No person will be denied counsel for inability to pay the screening fee.

(5) Unless a person paying a screening fee is charged on other criminal matters for which counsel at public expense has been requested, if the person is not charged, is acquitted, or if all charges are dismissed, the office of public defense shall return the fee to the person at the last known address listed in office of public defense records.

(Added Ord. 04-110, Nov. 22, 2004, Eff date December 17, 2004)

2.09.060 Pre-Trial Release.

The office shall also have authority, upon request by the court, to verify to the court personal information provided by or on behalf of in-custody criminal defendants as a basis for pre-trial release. The office shall not guarantee the accuracy of any pre-trial release information provided but shall act in conformity with the approved policies and procedures of the applicable court in obtaining verification acceptable to the court.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).

2.09.070 Attorney Administrator.

The attorney administrator shall be appointed by the executive upon consultation with the presiding judges of the district and superior courts. The attorney administrator shall serve at the pleasure of the executive and shall be subject to the county exempt personnel system.

The attorney administrator must be a member in good standing of the Washington State Bar Association. The attorney administrator must perform all attorney functions authorized by this chapter in accordance with the Rules of Professional Responsibility pertaining to attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of Washington, and in accordance with all applicable court rules.

The attorney administrator of the office shall have administrative responsibility for the office services provided herein. The attorney administrator shall not participate in individual determinations of indigency or pre-trial release but shall have oversight responsibility for the setting of policies and procedures applicable to determinations of indigency and pre-trial release, which policies and procedures shall be approved by the applicable courts.

The attorney administrator shall also have the authority to represent individual indigent criminal defendants and to appear as attorney for indigent criminal defendants at first appearance/ bail calendars, arraignments, expedited felony hearings, initial civil commitments proceedings, and fugitive hearings. In the event of a legal conflict, the attorney administrator shall have the authority to appoint separate counsel.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).

2.09.080 Standards for Public Defense.

As standards for public defense services, Snohomish County adopts by reference the standards applied to private attorneys defending paying clients and the Standards for Public Defense Services adopted in 1989 by the Washington Defender Association and approved by the Washington State Bar Association as the standards for public defense services in Snohomish County, as required by RCW 10.101.030.

(Added Ord. 00-072, § 1, November 13, 2000, Eff date Jan. 1, 2001; Ord. 02-058, November 20, 2002, Eff date December 13, 2002).