News & Updates

The Washington State Office of Defense is seeking qualified attorneys to handle resentencings and vacations of convictions under State v. Blake in San Juan County
November 18, 2022 | Chinami Arai

Title: San Juan County Blake Attorney, RFQ23010

Expected Contract Period: January 1, 2022 through up to June 30, 2023.

Application Due Date: Rolling. Applications will be reviewed as they are received, and positions are open until filled. Applicants are encouraged to submit their materials as soon as possible.

Submit Applications by Blake Defense Program
Email to: blake@opd.wa.gov

Background: On February 25, 2021, in State v. Blake 197 Wn.2d 170, 481 P.3d 521 (2021)), the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that Washington’s simple drug possession law was unconstitutional and void. Consequently, thousands of simple drug possession convictions need to be vacated, including convictions of currently incarcerated people. Public defenders across the state are working to deliver Blake relief to individuals under DOC control and/or individuals who have already served their sentences. A need remains in some counties for defense counsel to provide Blake relief to people serving DOC sentences, as well
as for people who are no longer serving a sentence but need to obtain a vacation of their conviction.

Position Summary: OPD will enter into a contract or contracts with solo practice attorneys and/or multi-attorney organizations to will provide legal services to indigent clients potentially eligible for Blake relief from San Juan County convictions. Such services will include: coordination and communication with criminal justice stakeholders in the county; regularly reviewing
DOC data provided by OPD to prioritize relief for incarcerated individuals; and client representation on resentencings and vacations.

Contractors may be expected to coordinate in delivery of services with other Blake contractors in their county.
Contractors will identify a minimum number of clients contractor expects to serve each month for vacation and/or resentencing. However, Contractor will not be guaranteed a minimum number of 2 hours each month under this contract; hours available under this contract will vary month-to-month depending on local factors.

This RFQ is open to solo practice attorneys or multi-attorney offices.
Compensation: Each contract will be compensated $100.00 hourly, with a contract cap as applicable. The number of hours per week or month that will be available under the contract will vary depending contractor capacity and on local circumstances.

Required Qualifications: OPD is seeking attorneys with the following qualifications:
– Licensed member in good standing with the Washington State Bar;
– Carries malpractice insurance;
– Is Class B felony-qualified under the WA Supreme Court Standards for Indigent Defense;
– Knowledge of Washington State criminal law;
– Experience with sentencing and offender scoring under the Washington’s Sentencing Reform Act.
– Experience with criminal practice in San Juan County Superior Court.

Desired Qualifications: In addition, the following qualifications are preferred:
– Class A felony-qualified
– Experience working with incarcerated people;
– Experience practicing law as a public defense attorney;
– Experience litigating CrR 7.8 motions; and
– Experience working with marginalized communities.
How to Apply: Questions regarding applications and completed applications can be sent to blake@opd.wa.gov Please include the following information.
– Cover Letter describing how you meet the qualifications listed above
– Your Resume or Resume of Attorneys who would participate in delivery of these services
– 2 Professional References
– Answers to following questions:
1. Please specify how many hours per week or month you expect to devote the contract.
2. Please describe your current workload/practice, and how you would fit this contract into your existing workload.
3. Please describe what efforts you would make to proactively coordinate with local criminal justice stakeholders, and fellow contractors, to create efficient and equitable Blake relief in county(ies) for which you are applying.
4. Please describe what process you would use to ensure communication with incarcerated clients.

For more information, click here.