WPI 360.02 Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction—Behavioral Health Disorder—Involuntary ...
6A WAPRAC WPI 360.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 360.02 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Part XIX. Involuntary Treatment
Chapter 360. Behavioral Health Disorders
WPI 360.02 Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction—Behavioral Health Disorder—Involuntary Treatment
It is your duty to decide the facts in this case based upon the evidence presented to you during this trial. It also is your duty to accept the law as I explain it to you, regardless of what you personally believe the law is or what you personally think it should be. You must apply the law that I give you to the facts that you decide have been proved, and in this way decide the case. By applying the law to the facts, you will be able to decide this case.
The evidence that you are to consider during your deliberations consists of the testimony that you have heard from witnesses [, and the exhibits that I have admitted,] during the trial. If evidence was not admitted or was stricken from the record, then you are not to consider it in reaching your verdict.
[Exhibits may have been marked by the court clerk and given a number, but they do not go with you to the jury room during your deliberations unless they have been admitted into evidence. The exhibits that have been admitted will be available to you in the jury room.]
In order to decide whether the petitioner's allegations have been proved, you must consider all of the evidence that I have admitted. Each party is entitled to the benefit of all of the evidence, whether or not that party introduced it.
You are the sole judges of the credibility of each witness and of the value or weight to be given to the testimony of each witness. In assessing credibility, you must avoid bias, conscious or unconscious, including bias based on religion, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
In considering a witness's testimony, you may consider these things: the opportunity of the witness to observe or know the things [he] [she] testifies about; the ability of the witness to observe accurately; the quality of a witness's memory while testifying; the manner of the witness while testifying; any personal interest that the witness might have in the outcome or the issues; any bias or prejudice that the witness may have shown; the reasonableness of the witness's statements in the context of all of the other evidence; and any other factors that affect your evaluation or belief of a witness or your evaluation of his or her testimony.
One of my duties has been to rule on the admissibility of evidence. Do not be concerned during your deliberations about the reasons for my rulings on the evidence. If I have ruled that any evidence is inadmissible, or if I have asked you to disregard any evidence, then you must not discuss that evidence during your deliberations or consider it in reaching your verdict.
The law does not permit me to comment on the evidence in any way. I would be commenting on the evidence if I indicated my personal opinion about the value of testimony or other evidence. Although I have not intentionally done so, if it appears to you that I have indicated my personal opinion, either during trial or in giving these instructions, you must disregard it entirely.
As to the comments of the lawyers during this trial, they are intended to help you understand the evidence and apply the law. However, it is important for you to remember that the lawyers' remarks, statements, and arguments are not evidence. You should disregard any remark, statement, or argument that is not supported by the evidence or the law as I have explained it to you.
You may have heard objections made by the lawyers during trial. Each party has the right to object to questions asked by another lawyer. These objections should not influence you. Do not make any assumptions or draw any conclusions based on a lawyer's objections.
As jurors, you have a duty to consult with one another and to deliberate with the intention of reaching a verdict. Each of you must decide the case for yourself, but only after an impartial consideration of all of the evidence with your fellow jurors. Listen to one another carefully. In the course of your deliberations, you should not hesitate to re-examine your own views and to change your opinion based upon the evidence. You should not surrender your honest convictions about the value or significance of evidence solely because of the opinions of your fellow jurors. Nor should you change your mind just for the purpose of obtaining enough votes for a verdict.
As jurors, you are officers of this court. You must not let your emotions overcome your rational thought process. You must reach your decision based on the facts proved to you and on the law given to you, not on sympathy, prejudice, or personal preference. To assure that all parties receive a fair trial, you must act impartially with an earnest desire to reach a proper verdict.
Finally, the order of these instructions has no significance as to their relative importance. They are all important. In closing arguments, the lawyers may properly discuss specific instructions, but you must not attach any special significance to a particular instruction that they may discuss. During your deliberations, you must consider the instructions as a whole.
NOTE ON USE
Give this general instruction in every behavioral health disorder involuntary commitment case. Do not use this instruction in cases for the civil commitment of sexual predators.
Use WPI 1.03 (Direct and Circumstantial Evidence) if requested.
This instruction is adapted from WPI 1.02 (Introductory Instruction) to fit an Involuntary Treatment Act case.
The WPI Committee has added an admonition that the jurors must not let bias, conscious or unconscious, influence their assessment of credibility. For further discussion of conscious or unconscious bias, see the Comment to WPI 1.01 (Advance Oral Instruction—Beginning of Proceeding).
This instruction does not address whether the jury may consider the respondent's courtroom demeanor in making its determination.
In State v. Barry, 179 Wn.App. 175, 317 P.3d 528 (2014), affirmed, 183 Wn.2d 297, 352 P.3d 161 (2015), the court held that the evidence properly considered consists of the testimony of the witnesses and admitted exhibits; the courtroom demeanor of a defendant is itself not evidence and may not be considered by the jury. However, in Involuntary Treatment Act cases, an expert witness, present in the courtroom during the trial, frequently observes a respondent's courtroom demeanor or behavior and testifies regarding his or her observations as a part of the expert's opinion regarding the respondent's mental state. See, e.g., In re Detention of LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d 196, 215, 728 P.2d 138, 150 (1986) (“The State's other witness, Dr. Hyde, based his testimony on a personal interview with [the respondent], review of the medical charts and records, and observations during the hearing.”). An expert's testimony about in-court observations of the respondent, subject to cross-examination, is evidence which a jury may consider.
[Current as of January 2021.]
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