University of Washington Native American Law Center Public Defense Clinic (for Criminal Charges on the Tulalip Reservation Only)
The Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic at the University of Washington Native American Law Center provides public defense services in Tulalip Tribal Court. Under the supervision of Clinic Supervisors, Molly Cohan (biography) and Brenda Williams (biography), University of Washington law students assist with the representation. The supervisors’ areas of expertise include: criminal law, tribal criminal law, the Indian Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Law and Order Act, and the re-authorized Violence Against Women Act.
This public defense service has been in place since 2002. Since that time, the Clinic has handled over 2000 cases in the Tulalip Tribal Court. Second and third year University of Washington law students are selected after application to work in the Clinic. All clinic advocates must pass the Tulalip Tribal Court Bar Exam and be admitted to practice by the Tulalip Tribal Court. Students work closely with their supervisors, forming a defense team that works on behalf of the accused. Funding for this service is supported primarily by charitable contributions from the Tulalip Tribes.
The Tribal Court appoints the Tribal Court Public Defense Clinic when the defendant’s household income qualifies under Tulalip law. If you are charged with a criminal offense in the Tulalip Tribal Court, you may apply to be screened for eligibility in advance of your first hearing or you may apply at the time of your first court date. Applications are available at the Tribal Court or at the website below. If you are eligible for Clinic representation, Clinic counsel will be appointed to represent you at your first Court hearing. If the Clinic cannot represent you due to a conflict of interest, the Court will appoint conflict counsel. If you are arrested and incarcerated prior to charging, you must appear before the judge at which time you may apply for counsel.
To contact the Clinic, you can call toll free at 1-866-550-2979. If no one answers, leave a message with a good time to call back. You may also call (206) 616-4201 or (206) 685-3917.
Download the the Defense Clinic Application