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WPIC 1.02 Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction

11 WAPRAC WPIC 1.02Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 1.02 (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 1. Introductory Instructions
WPIC 1.02 Conclusion of Trial—Introductory Instruction
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 from my instructions, regardless of what you personally believe the law is or what you personally think it should be. You must apply the law from my instructions to the facts that you decide have been proved, and in this way decide the case.
Keep in mind that a charge is only an accusation. The filing of a charge is not evidence that the charge is true. Your decisions as jurors must be made solely upon the evidence presented during these proceedings.
The evidence that you are to consider during your deliberations consists of the testimony that you have heard from witnesses [, stipulations] [, 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.]
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. Do not speculate whether the evidence would have favored one party or the other.
In order to decide whether any proposition has been proved, you must consider all of the evidence that I have admitted that relates to the proposition. 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. You are also the sole judges 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 or 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.
The lawyers' remarks, statements, and arguments are intended to help you understand the evidence and apply the law. It is important, however, for you to remember that the lawyers' statements are not evidence. The evidence is the testimony and the exhibits. The law is contained in my instructions to you. You must disregard any remark, statement, or argument that is not supported by the evidence or the law in my instructions.
You may have heard objections made by the lawyers during trial. Each party has the right to object to questions asked by another lawyer, and may have a duty to do so. These objections should not influence you. Do not make any assumptions or draw any conclusions based on a lawyer's objections.
Our state constitution prohibits a trial judge from making a comment on the evidence. It would be improper for me to express, by words or conduct, my personal opinion about the value of testimony or other evidence. I have not intentionally done this. If it appeared to you that I have indicated my personal opinion in any way, either during trial or in giving these instructions, you must disregard this entirely.
[You have nothing whatever to do with any punishment that may be imposed in case of a violation of the law. You may not consider the fact that punishment may follow conviction except insofar as it may tend to make you careful.]
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. During your deliberations, you must consider the instructions as a whole.
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.
Use this general instruction in every case. This instruction is the first of the written instructions given to the jury at the end of the trial.
The bracketed paragraph on punishment should be omitted in a case, such as a capital case, in which the jury does play some role in determining punishment. The paragraph may be modified if the jury will be asked to make factual findings related to SRA sentencing enhancements.
The final written instructions must be read aloud to the jury. CrR 6.15(d). It is reversible error for the trial judge to fail to read aloud to the jury a written instruction that contains an essential element of the charged offense, even if an appropriate written instruction has been provided to the jury. State v. Sanchez, 122 Wn.App. 579, 94 P.3d 384 (2004).
Weighing the credibility of witnesses. In 2018, the WPI Committee revised this instruction to include an admonishment 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).
An instruction that the jury may consider the relations of the parties and witnesses, their interest, temper, bias, demeanor, intelligence, and credibility is not a violation of Washington Constitution, Article IV, section 16, prohibiting comment on evidence. Klepsch v. Donald, 4 Wash. 436, 30 P. 991 (1892). WPIC 6.01 (Credibility of Witnesses and Weight of Testimony) is cited with approval in State v. Faucett, 22 Wn.App. 869, 593 P.2d 559 (1979). The court in Faucett recommended against an instruction in a criminal case that the jury should be slow to believe that any witness has testified falsely.
See the Note on Use and Comment to WPIC 6.52 (Eyewitness Identification Testimony) on when to use an instruction on the weight to be given to eyewitness identification testimony.
In State v. Dietrich, 75 Wn.2d 676, 453 P.2d 654 (1969), the court approved an instruction that the jury may consider whether the witness has any interest in the outcome of the trial.
Electronic Exhibits. A number of cases have dealt with the issue of exhibits in the form of electronic recordings. As a general rule, the court has discretion to send a recorded exhibit back to the jury room, assuming such exhibit has been properly admitted. State v. Elmore, 139 Wn.2d 250, 293–96, 985 P.2d 289 (1999). See also State v. Castellanos, 132 Wn.2d 94, 935 P.2d 1353 (1997).
For a discussion of the issues involved when a jury asks to rehear particular trial testimony, see the Comment to WPIC 4.74 (Jurors Rehearing Trial Testimony—Cautionary Instruction).
Jury nullification. The instruction requires jurors to accept the law that they receive from the judge, regardless of jurors' beliefs about the law. This requirement is based on Article IV, section 16 of the Washington Constitution, which provides: “Judges shall not charge juries with respect to matters of fact, nor comment thereon, but shall declare the law.” For further discussion of jury nullification issues, see the Comment to WPIC 1.01 (Advance Oral Instruction—Beginning of Proceedings).
Arguments of counsel. The following opinions each illustrate the importance of instructing that argument of counsel not supported by evidence is to be disregarded: State v. Lougin, 50 Wn.App. 376, 749 P.2d 173 (1988); State v. Papadopoulos, 34 Wn.App. 397, 662 P.2d 59 (1983); State v. Russell, 31 Wn.App. 715, 644 P.2d 1190 (1982), reversed in part on other grounds 101 Wn.2d 349, 678 P.2d 332 (1984); and State v. Hale, 26 Wn.App. 211, 611 P.2d 1370 (1980).
Jurors not having a role in punishment. In State v. Pierce, 195 Wn.2d 230, 455 P.3d 647 (2020), the Washington Supreme Court reversed State v. Townsend, 142 Wn.2d 838, 15 P.3d 145 (2001), which had prohibited a judge from informing prospective jurors that the case does not involve the death penalty. The Pierce court recognized that Townsend had the effect of requiring jurors to be “death qualified” even when the case does not involve the death penalty, and that such a result could unfairly limit the available pool of jurors. State v. Pierce, 195 Wn.2d 230, 455 P.3d 647 (2020).
The opinions in State v. Rice, 110 Wn.2d 577, 610–13, 757 P.2d 889 (1988), and State v. Mak, 105 Wn.2d 692, 750–51, 718 P.2d 407 (1986), overruled in part on other grounds by State v. Hill, 123 Wn.2d 641, 870 P.2d 313 (1994), discuss the use of WPIC 1.02 in the penalty phase of capital cases. Also see WPIC 31.03 (Introductory Instruction (Capital Case)).
In State v. Dietrich, 75 Wn.2d 676, 453 P.2d 654 (1969), the court approved an instruction that the jury may consider whether the witness has any interest in the outcome of the trial.
Evidence. 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 it was error to tell the jury that “evidence includes what you witness in the courtroom” in response to a question received from the jury during deliberations asking whether the jury could consider the defendant's actions and demeanor during trial as evidence. In Barry, the jury had received an instruction modeled on WPIC 1.02 stating that the only evidence they were to consider was the testimony of witnesses and exhibits admitted into evidence. State v. Barry, 179 Wn.App at 179–80.
[Current as of January 2020.]
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