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WPIC 4.75 Completion of Trial—Jurors' Discussion of Case

11 WAPRAC WPIC 4.75Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 4.75 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
January 2024 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part I. General Instructions
WPIC CHAPTER 4.60. Miscellaneous Instructions During Trial
WPIC 4.75 Completion of Trial—Jurors' Discussion of Case
Having completed your service on this trial, you may now discuss this case and your jury service with others, including the attorneys involved in this case. You are not, however, required to do so. You have the right to choose not to answer any questions about this case, whether the questions are asked by the attorneys or by anyone else.
You may choose to answer some questions and not others. For example, some jurors choose to talk about what happened in the courtroom but not about what happened during deliberations. The choice is entirely yours.
You should be considerate of the privacy interests and expectations of your fellow jurors. In particular, please do not reveal other jurors' names, addresses, or telephone numbers.
Use this instruction when thanking jurors for their service after a verdict has been rendered or the trial has otherwise been completed.
The instruction may be modified to incorporate local practices as to where, when, and how contact between jurors and attorneys may occur.
Background. The Washington State Jury Commission has recommended that the court, before dismissing jurors from service on a trial, should inform jurors of their rights to discuss or refrain from discussing the case. Washington State Jury Commission's Report to the Board for Judicial Administration, Recommendation 20 (July 2000). The Jury Commission also recommends that jurors “should be cautioned about the privacy interests of their fellow jurors and should be reminded not to disclose identifying information about other jurors.” Washington State Jury Commission's Report, Recommendation 20 (narrative section). See GR 31(j) (creating a presumption of privacy for individual juror information other than name).
Attorneys talking with jurors after trial. Under RPC 3.5(c) and the rule's official comment number 3, attorneys may speak with jurors after the trial unless (1) the contact is prohibited by law, (2) the contact is prohibited by a court order, (3) the juror makes known a desire not to communicate, or (4) the communication involves misrepresentation, coercion, duress, or harassment.
When the law or a court order prohibits attorneys from speaking with jurors, the instruction will need to be modified accordingly. For a general discussion of juror protection orders, see State v. Finch, 137 Wn.2d 792, 866–68, 975 P.2d 967 (1999).
Judge meeting with jurors after trial. The Jury Commission's report also encourages judges to meet with jurors in an informal setting after the trial is completed. Washington State Jury Commission's Report to the Board for Judicial Administration, Recommendation 17 (narrative section). These debriefing meetings can help relieve juror stress and can give judges valuable feedback as to jurors' perspectives on courtroom procedures.
The judge must exercise caution during any such debriefing session. The judge should advise the jurors at the outset that, even though they may discuss the case with others as they see fit, during the debriefing session with the judge they should not discuss or comment on the way they arrived at their verdict or anything they said during deliberations. See generally James Kelley, Addressing Juror Stress: A Trial Judge's Perspective, 43 Drake L.Rev. 97, 116–22 (1994) (discussing the value of, and recommending procedures for, post-trial debriefing sessions between the judge and jurors).
The judge and judicial staff must not commend or criticize jurors for their verdict, but may thank them for their service. See Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 2.8(B). The judge must retain an impartial demeanor during these sessions, and must refrain from expressing personal opinions about the evidence, the law, or the participants involved in the trial. See generally CJC Canons 1 (on avoiding the appearance of impropriety) and 2 (on performing judicial duties impartially). Judges may not use these conferences to inquire into the factual basis for the jury's decision, to furnish the basis for a new trial, or to cause the jury to alter its verdict. See Fitzell v. Rama Indus., Inc., 416 So.2d 1246 (Fl.App. 1982).
During the debriefing session, the judge may wish to elaborate on the instruction that the jurors are free to choose whether to discuss the case or their deliberations with others. The judge may remind them that some jurors may have made comments during the deliberations with the expectation that the comments remain confidential.
Jurors sometimes ask about the scheduling of further proceedings in the case, such as a sentencing hearing. The judge may provide jurors with public information that will assist them in following future proceedings in the case.
[Current as of May 2019.]
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