Updated: Nov. 16, 2017

Council on Public Defense

The Council on Public Defense (CPD) unites representatives of the bar, private and public criminal defense attorneys, current and former prosecutors, the bench, elected officials and the public to address new and recurring challenges that impact the public defense system. The CPD educates and informs policy makers on issues that need reform and provides concrete proposals that are enhanced by the comprehensive nature of the CPD membership. The CPD is guided by its charter.

Council on Public Defense Initiatives

The CPD has accomplished a number of initiatives since it was established as an advisory committee of the WSBA in 2009. The following are some examples of its work.

Performance Guidelines for Criminal Defense Representation

In June 2011 the WSBA Board of Governors adopted performance guidelines for criminal defense representation. The guidelines are intended to be used as a guide to professional conduct and performance and not meant to be undertaken automatically in every case. 

Standards for Indigent Defense Services

In September 2011 the WSBA Board of Governors adopted updated standards for indigent defense services as proposed by the CPD and forwarded the standards to the Washington Supreme Court for consideration. The WSBA standards are recommended and not enforceable.

Standards for Indigent Defense and Certification of Compliance

In July 2012 the state Supreme Court ordered adoption of revised standards for indigent defense services. The Court-adopted standards are enforceable. The CPD later developed Frequently Asked Questions to address questions about the standards.

Council on Public Defense Membership

The CPD consists of 23 members appointed by the WSBA Board of Governors. View the CPD Roster or contact the CPD Chair, Eileen Farley.


Council on Public Defense Staff

Diana Singleton
Access to Justice Manager
206-727-8205
Bonnie Sterken
Justice Programs Coordinator
206-727-8293