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WPI 360.06 Burden of Proof—Behavioral Health Disorder—Involuntary Treatment

6A WAPRAC WPI 360.06Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil

6A Wash. Prac., Wash. Pattern Jury Instr. Civ. WPI 360.06 (7th ed.)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Civil
April 2022 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part XIX. Involuntary Treatment
Chapter 360. Behavioral Health Disorders
WPI 360.06 Burden of Proof—Behavioral Health Disorder—Involuntary Treatment
(The state, or name of petitioner)is the petitioner and has the burden of proving each element of this case by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. Clear, cogent, and convincing evidence exists when the element has been shown by the evidence to be highly probable.
Proof by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence requires a greater showing than is required under the “preponderance of the evidence” standard that is used in many other civil cases. Preponderance of the evidence exists when an element has been shown to be more probably true than not true.
On the other hand, proof by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence does not require as great a showing as is required under the “reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases. Reasonable doubt means such a doubt as exists in the mind of a reasonable person after fully, fairly, and carefully considering all the evidence or lack of evidence.
“Preponderance of the evidence” and “beyond a reasonable doubt” are defined here solely to aid you in understanding the meaning of “clear, cogent, and convincing” evidence.
The respondent does not have the burden to prove or disprove any element of the case.
Use this instruction in every Involuntary Treatment Act case.
The Legislature amended RCW 71.05 et seq. to collectively refer to mental illness and substance abuse as behavioral health disorders. See Laws of 2020, Chapter 302, § 41.
The burden of proof mandated by the statute is clear, cogent, and convincing evidence. RCW 71.05.310. The jury must be instructed that clear, cogent, and convincing evidence is greater evidence than a preponderance. Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418, 99 S.Ct. 1804, 60 L.Ed.2d 323 (1979).
The instruction incorporates a simplified version of the definition of “clear, cogent, and convincing evidence” suggested by the court in In re Detention of LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d 196, 728 P.2d 138 (1986). In LaBelle, the court stated that the phrase “clear, cogent, and convincing evidence” in involuntary commitment proceedings means “the ultimate fact in issue must be shown by evidence to be ‘highly probable.’” LaBelle, 107 Wn.2d at 209; see also Morris v. Blaker, 118 Wn.2d 133, 821 P.2d 482 (1992). The WPI Committee has simplified this definition by omitting the phrase “the ultimate fact in issue,” both because the phrase is not typically included in burden-of-proof definitions and because it would be difficult for jurors to understand. The WPI Committee has adjusted the definition of “preponderance of the evidence” so that it parallels the definition of “clear, cogent, and convincing evidence.”
The instruction's format is similar to that of WPI 160.02 (Fraud—Burden of Proof), the civil instruction that defines the phrase clear, cogent, and convincing evidence for purposes of proving fraud. The definition of reasonable doubt comes from WPIC 4.01 (Burden of Proof—Presumption of Innocence—Reasonable Doubt) and the definition of preponderance of the evidence comes from WPI 21.01 (Meaning of Burden of Proof—Preponderance of the Evidence), the pattern instruction for civil cases.
In In re Detention of McLaughlin, 100 Wn.2d 832, 676 P.2d 444 (1984), the court upheld a prior version of WPI 360.06. The court rejected the respondent's argument that the instruction should state that the burden of proof was much closer to the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt than it was to the standard of a preponderance of the evidence. In the same case, however, the court held that the respondent is entitled to an instruction stating that the burden of proof is upon the petitioner to prove each element of its case by the requisite standard.
[Current as of January 2021.]
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