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WPI 6.03 View—Before Visiting a Site

6 WAPRAC WPI 6.03Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6 Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 6.03 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part I. General Instructions
Chapter 6. Oral Instructions During Trial
WPI 6.03 View—Before Visiting a Site
You will now be taken to view a site or area involved in this case. You will be under the supervision of the [the bailiff] [(insert other applicable staff person)], [Mr.] [Ms.] , the entire time that you are away from this courtroom. You must remain together at all times until the [the bailiff] [(insert other applicable staff person)] excuses you.
You will be taken to view the site for the sole purpose of helping you to understand the evidence presented to you in this courtroom. What you actually see at the site and its surrounding area is not evidence. The physical features at the site may have changed. The conditions that prevailed at the time of the occurrence or other relevant times may have changed. You are to rely solely on the testimony of witnesses and on the exhibits admitted in the courtroom in deciding issues involving the physical characteristics or appearance of the site at the time of the events in question.
During the site visit, you may not ask questions or discuss the case among yourselves or with anyone else. The lawyers may not discuss the case or comment on the site, but may be allowed by the court to point out particular features.
This is not one of the written instructions on the law. It is an oral admonition and explanation to the jury, to be given immediately prior to leaving for the view.
After discussion with counsel, the judge should decide the time during the trial when the view will be most helpful to the jury's understanding of the evidence. The judge should give counsel an opportunity to be heard outside the presence of the jury concerning any features to be pointed out.
After a view by the jury, counsel may wish the court to include WPI 2.14 (View of a Site is Not Evidence), in the written instructions at the conclusion of the case.
RCW 4.44.270 permits the court to authorize a view of real property at issue in litigation or the place where a material fact is alleged to have occurred. The statute specifies that “[w]hile the jury are thus absent no person other than the judge, or person so appointed, shall speak to them on any subject connected with the trial.”
The statute provides for a jury view of the scene in the court's discretion. As a general rule, any denial of a request to view the premises is not error. Kelley v. Great Northern Ry. Co., 59 Wn.2d 894, 371 P.2d 528 (1962). However, under some circumstances, a view of real property that is the subject of an eminent domain proceeding brought by a school district is mandatory. RCW 8.16.070.
The view of the scene is not part of the trial and is not evidence. It is improper to permit any evidence to be offered during the view of the premises. State v. McVeigh, 35 Wn.2d 493, 214 P.2d 165 (1950); Cole v. McGhie, 59 Wn.2d 436, 361 P.2d 938 (1961) (pointing out the differences between a view and an experiment).
For further discussion, see Tegland, 5 Washington Practice, Evidence Law and Practice §§ 402.44–.45 (6th ed).
[Current as of November 2020.]
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