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Grays Harbor County Department of Public Defense intends to provide resources to support our community minded contracted attorneys with continuing legal educational opportunities, consolidated expert list, forms access, private space (to hold confidential attorney-client meetings) and wi-fi access.


The Bill of Rights is part of our founding compact. It promises everyone certain fundamental rights, including the right not to be put in jeopardy of the loss of life or liberty without due process of law, not to be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures, not to be induced to self-incrimination, and to not be put twice in jeopardy for the same offense. U.S. Const. amends. IV-VI, XIV; see also Wash. Const. art. I, §§ 3, 9, 22. Without an attorney, these fundamental rights are often just words on paper. As Justice Black wrote: [R]eason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him.... From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals in which every defendant stands equal before the law. This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him. Gideon, 372 U.S. at 344, 83 S.Ct. 792. The United States Supreme Court held that Gideon was entitled to a new trial and that under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, states were required to appoint counsel for indigent accused, like Gideon before they could lawfully hale men and women into court and subject them to the penalties of the law. Id. at 343-44, 83 S.Ct. 792. Since Gideon, the high court has found that the right to counsel extends to children and in misdemeanor prosecutions whenever the defendant faces a risk of loss of liberty. Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25, 37, 92 S.Ct. 2006, 32 L.Ed.2d 530 (1972); In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1, 41, 87 S.Ct. 1428, 18 L.Ed.2d 527 (1967). Later, in Strickland, the Supreme Court made clear that the Constitution guaranteed the poor not just an appointment of counsel, but also effective assistance of counsel. Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 688, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984).

"... the vast majority of public defenders do sterling and impressive work, ... ." State v. A.N.J., 168 Wn. 2d 91 (2010).

Grays Harbor County thanks the defense contract attorneys for their commitment to public defense.