[1/31/22] Douglas County To Establish Public Defender’s Office

Posted in Local Government & Meetings

Douglas County commissioners say they’ll establish a public defender’s office as a new county agency, doing away with a longstanding system of contracts with local attorneys to represent indigent clients in criminal court.

The U.S Constitution guarantees legal representation in all criminal matters, including defendants who cannot afford a lawyer. In Washington, local jurisdictions create and fund public defense offices to represent those clients. Douglas County Commission Chairman Marc Straub:

The county budgeted 630-thousand dollars for contracts with attorneys last year. The commission begins the process of establishing a Public Defender’s Office with a public hearing Tuesday February 8th at 10 a.m. From there:

The Douglas County office would handle felony defendants appearing in Superior Court. Contract attorneys currently handle defense of indigent clients in Douglas County District Court.

Superior Court Judge Brian Huber told the commissioners he was pleased to hear that the county’s doing this, saying it seems like something that in the long term needed to be done.

Straub says the goal is to have the office established by April.