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WPIC 17.07 Physical Discipline of a Child—Defense

11 WAPRAC WPIC 17.07Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 17.07 (5th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
January 2024 Update
Washington State Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions
Part IV. Defenses
WPIC CHAPTER 17. Lawful Force—Charges Other than Homicide
WPIC 17.07 Physical Discipline of a Child—Defense
It is a defense to a charge of assault that the force used was lawful as defined in this instruction.
The physical discipline of a child is lawful when it is reasonable and moderate, and is inflicted by a [parent] [teacher] [guardian] [person authorized in advance by the child's parent or guardian to use such force] for purposes of restraining or correcting the child.
You must determine whether the force used, when viewed objectively, was reasonable and moderate.
You may, but are not required to, infer that it is unreasonable to do the following act(s) to correct or restrain a child: [throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child] [striking a child with a closed fist] [shaking a child under age three] [interfering with a child's breathing] [threatening a child with a deadly weapon] [doing any act that is likely to cause, and that does cause, bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks]. [You shall consider the age, size, and condition of the child, and the location of the injury, when determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate.] This inference is not binding upon you, and it is for you to determine what weight, if any, such inference is to be given.
The [State] [City] [County] bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the force used by the defendant was not lawful. If you find that the [State] [City] [County] has not proved the absence of this defense beyond a reasonable doubt, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty [as to this charge].
Use this instruction when the defense is raised that the defendant was lawfully disciplining a child. For a discussion of the caution needed when instructing jurors using inferences, see the Comment below and the Comment to WPIC 6.25 (Presumed to Intend Natural Consequences of Acts).
Use WPIC 2.03 (Bodily Injury—Physical Injury—Bodily Harm—Definition) with this instruction.
Use bracketed material as applicable.
RCW 9A.16.100.
The statute purports to create a mandatory presumption. In order to avoid the constitutional issues identified below and discussed more fully elsewhere, the pattern instruction recasts this mandatory presumption as a permissive inference. Thus, the word “infer” was substituted for the word “presume” in the fourth paragraph of this instruction and other language was added to the instruction to clarify that the inference in the instruction is not binding upon the jury. For a discussion of concerns about inferences and presumptions in criminal cases, see the Comment to WPIC 6.25 (Presumed to Intend Natural Consequences of Acts).
In State v. Singleton, 41 Wn.App. 721, 705 P.2d 825 (1985), the trial court rejected the defendant's proposed instruction that the reasonableness of parental force under RCW 9A.16.020(5) (the predecessor to RCW 9A.16.100) is to be measured by a subjective standard. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court and held that an objective standard applies.
The opinion in State v. Bennett, 42 Wn.App. 125, 708 P.2d 1232 (1985), holds that the use of reasonable force to discipline a child negates the intent element of assault and that it is reversible error not to instruct that the State has the burden of proving the absence of lawful use of force. For a general discussion of the burden of proof on defenses, see WPIC 14.00 (Defenses—Introduction).
[Current as of February 2019.]
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