If I have a problem with my court-appointed lawyer, how do I complain?

Many concerns can be resolved by talking directly to your public defender. Call the office at 360-578-7430. All incoming calls go through a phone line. The receptionist can tell you who your attorney is and connect you with your attorney or your attorney’s voice mail.  If you cannot discuss your concerns with your attorney, please email or send a letter. All the attorneys’ email addresses are listed in the staff directory.

If you are unable to work out the issue with your attorney, you may contact the supervisor of the court where you case is being heard.  While written communication is preferred, you may call the office and ask to speak to your attorney’s supervisor.  Contact with a supervisor may only occur after you have attempted to resolve issues with your assigned attorney.   The supervisors are:

District Court – Charles Angelico
Juvenile Court – Simmie Baer
Superior Court – Ted Debray

If contacting the supervisor does not resolve your issue, you may contact the director of the office, Kari Reardon.  Your written concerns may be sent to:

Cowlitz County Office of Public Defense
1801 First Avenue, Suite 1A
Longview, WA 98632

You may also send an email to Reardonk@co.cowlitz.wa.us. If your concern is urgent, you may call the office at 360-578-7430.

Please include the following information in your letter/email/phone call:

  • Your name,  address and phone number
  • Your attorney’s name
  • Your case number and charge
  • An explanation of your complaint

CCOPD reviews concerns raised by our clients. CCOPD does not accept complaints from family members or other third parties on behalf of the defendant. CCOPD does not accept anonymous complaints.

Please note that complaints submitted to OPD may be subject to disclosure as a public record.

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1. Is my public defender a “real lawyer”?
2. Since you’re paid by the government, the same as prosecutors, aren’t you just working together?
3. Can I call or drop by the Cowlitz County Office of Public Defense for some quick legal advice?
4. What is an arraignment?
5. What is a pre-trial hearing?
6. What is a trial readiness hearing?
7. What happens in trial?
8. What happens in a sentencing hearing?
9. How does COVID-19 impact my court hearings?
10. How do I discuss my case with my attorney during COVID-19?
11. What is a bench warrant, and what can I do if I have one?
12. Why hasn’t my attorney gotten my case dropped?
13. What if I forgot my court date?
14. How do I get my record vacated/sealed?
15. If I have a problem with my court-appointed lawyer, how do I complain?
16. What can I do to help with my case?