HILLSBORO, Ore. (April 7, 2023) — The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is pleased to announce the results of “Wingspan III,” a specialized court program designed to address the criminal defense attorney shortage crisis.

In Washington County, dozens of criminal defendants have not been assigned court-appointed attorneys due to Oregon’s indigent defense attorney shortage. This has led to delayed justice, for both the defendants charged with crimes and the community members victimized by crime.

This past February and March, the Washington County District Attorney’s Office partnered with the Oregon Defense Attorney Consortium (ODAC) and the Washington County Circuit Court to launch Wingspan III. The program was modeled after two previous specialized court programs that addressed case backlogs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of six weeks, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges worked together to ensure defendants and victims had their day in court.

Wingspan III addressed more than 100 Washington County criminal cases delayed due to a lack of defense attorney representation. Wingspan III’s efforts also included the services of eight ODAC defense attorneys who represented Washington County defendants without assigned counsel.

Of the defendants who appeared in court, Wingspan III resolved approximately 70% of their cases. An in-depth summary of Wingspan III’s results can be viewed here. 

“I am proud that key Washington County stakeholders came together to address this problem,” said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton. “Those accused of a crime and those victimized by a crime deserve to have their day in court without delay.”

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office would like to thank Rob Harris, attorneys of the Oregon Defense Attorney Consortium, the Washington County Circuit Court and Judge Erik Bucher for their partnership in this unique program.

Media contact information
Traci Muldoon
Public Information Officer
(971) 708-8219
April 07, 2023