Dropping HB 2031 into the Hopper at the Washington State Legislature so it can receive a number and then be assigned to committee.

Dropping HB 2031 into the Hopper at the Washington State Legislature so it can receive a number and then be assigned to committee.

Olympia – On Wednesday, February 8th, our bill to fully fund public defense services, sponsored by Representative Appleton, was referred to the House Appropriations Committee as HB 2031

In 1963 the Supreme Court held, in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright, that the provision of Sixth Amendment lawyers for indigent people is a state obligation under the Fourteenth Amendment.  And while the Supreme Court has not directly considered whether it is unconstitutional for a state to delegate its constitutional responsibility to its counties and cities, the state must still guarantee that local governments are not only capable of providing adequate representation, but that they are in fact doing so. 

This bill puts the responsibility of public defense funding back on the state.  It requires the state to fully fund public defense services to be carried out via a reimbursement process through the Office of Public Defense (OPD).  Counties and cities would be required to apply for reimbursement from OPD for the provision of public defense services in the previous year with all required information and documentation due to OPD by September 1 of each year. 

A hearing on the HB 2031 has not yet been set.

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Juliana Roe comes to WSAC with almost a decade of experience working as non-partisan staff in the Washington State Senate. She has a strong legal background and knowledge of our court system as she served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Alexander for the Washington State Supreme Court, as well as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office. Juliana received her Juris Doctorate from Seattle University School of Law, and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington. She represents WSAC on issues relating to public safety, law and justice, and human services.