Public Defense Advisory Committee


  • Held once annually at a minimum


The Public Defense Advisory Committee has 5 members. 


  • 1 Appointee of the Whatcom County Bar Association - Emily Beschen 
  • 1 County Council member - Ben Elenbaas
  • 1 Current or former director of a county public defender agency - Wes Richards
  • 1 Non-lawyer appointed by the County Executive - Peter Frazier
  • 1 current Whatcom County department head, other than the public defender, sheriff or prosecuting attorney - Erika Lautenbach

Term Limit/Length 

  • Bar Association appointee and Executive appointee only - two consecutive two-year terms.


The Public Defense Advisory Committee shall advise the County Executive and County Council on matters regarding the defense of the indigent, and shall submit its observations of the public defender system to the Executive and the County Council not less than annually.  It shall also serve as the selection committee to fulfill the functions of WCC Section 2.09.100.