The King County Department of Public Defense eliminated the $25 fee for its services after finding that few of its clients could afford to pay.
Since 1991, the Department of Public Defense has helped people who cannot afford an attorney, but it charged a nominal fee. The fee started at $5, but in 2008 the King County Council raised the fee to $25.
Fewer than half the defendants paid the fee. In 2011, the county billed 6,000 people, but only 36 percent paid. In 2012, the county billed 6,400 people, but only 23 percent paid.