WPIC 4.27 Location of Offense
11 WAPRAC WPIC 4.27Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 4.27 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
December 2021 Update
Part I. General Instructions
WPIC CHAPTER 4.20. Elements of the Crime—Format
WPIC 4.27 Location of Offense
A crime may be committed in more than one location. A crime is committed in any [state] [city] [or] [county] in which the defendant commits any act that constitutes part of the crime.
[A person who sends a [letter] [electronic message] [telegram] [fax] is considered to have performed the act both where the [letter] [electronic message] [telegram] [fax] originates and where the [letter] [electronic message] [telegram] [fax] is received.]
[A person who telephones another person is considered to have performed the act both where the call is placed or dialed and where the call is received [or the message is retrieved].]
NOTE ON USE
Use this instruction when the acts that constitute the charged crime occurred both within the applicable jurisdiction and outside it.
Use this instruction when a communication made by the defendant supports an element of the offense. Use bracketed material as applicable.
Background. Many crimes — including violations of protection orders, communication with a minor, and harassment — are based upon a communication between the defendant and another person. Threats and other statements may be communicated by mail, over the telephone, and through a variety of other media. In these cases, determining whether a court has jurisdiction requires the application of certain statutes, court rules, and common law principles to the facts presented to the jury.
Statutes and court rules. A criminal prosecution that is based, in part, upon a written or oral communication may be prosecuted by a Washington court if the communication was received, written, or sent inside Washington. See RCW 9A.04.030(1), (5) (jurisdiction exists for offenses in which the defendant commits acts in this state or commits acts in another state that affect persons in this state); RCW 9.61.250 (the crime of telephone harassment is committed at the place where the call is either made or received); RCW 9.61.260 (the crime of cyberstalking is committed at the place where the communication is either made or received); RCW 9A.46.030 (harassment offenses are committed at the place where threats are either made or received); see also CrR 5.1(b) and CrRLJ 5.1(c) (each providing that, when there is reasonable doubt whether an offense was committed in one jurisdiction or another, venue exists in either jurisdiction).
Case law. Communication by a telephone call is deemed to have occurred both where the call is placed and where the call is received. See State v. Dent, 123 Wn.2d 467, 481, 869 P.2d 392 (1994) (holding that prosecution is proper in county where telephone calls were received in conspiracy case, and citing with approval a federal case holding that the prosecution would be proper in either county).
Communication by a letter is deemed to have occurred both where the letter is written or posted and where the letter is received. See generally State v. Dent, 123 Wn.2d at 481 (holding that prosecution is proper in county where letter was received in conspiracy case, and citing with approval a federal case holding that the prosecution would be proper in either county); State v. Bogart, 21 Wn.2d 765, 770–72, 153 P.2d 507 (1944) (prosecution proper in county where minor received a letter that was written by the defendant in another county).
Instructing a jury of the legal significance of sending a letter from one county to another county was held proper in State v. Bogart, 21 Wn.2d at 770.
Jurisdiction in a criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. State v. Norman, 145 Wn.2d 578, 589, 40 P.3d 116 (2002). The “to convict” instruction must always include an element addressing the court's jurisdiction or power to hear and determine the case. See State v. Lane, 112 Wn.2d 464, 468, 476, 771 P.2d 1150 (1989).
[Current as of May 2019.]
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