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WPIC 2.22 Public Servant—Definition

11 WAPRAC WPIC 2.22Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal

11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 2.22 (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 2. Definitions
WPIC 2.22 Public Servant—Definition
Public servant means any person [who presently occupies the position of] [or] [has been elected, appointed, or designated to become] [any officer or employee of government], a [legislator] [judge] [judicial officer] [juror], [and] [any person participating as an advisor, consultant, or otherwise in performing a governmental function].
Use this instruction only if there is an issue of fact whether a person is a public servant. Use bracketed material as applicable. For directions on using bracketed phrases, see WPIC 4.20 (Introduction).
If the crime charged is intimidating a public servant, do not use the bracketed term “juror.” See the Comment below. Do not use this instruction if the crime charged is intimidating a witness. See the Comment below. Do not use this instruction to define a peace officer, which is separately defined in WPIC 2.16 (Peace Officer—Definition).
Along with this instruction, use, as applicable, WPIC 2.11 (Government—Definition), WPIC 2.12 (Governmental Function—Definition), and WPIC 2.14 (Officer—Public Officer—Definition).
RCW 9A.04.110(23). The statute makes it clear that this definition is not applicable if a public servant appears as a witness and that a witness does not become a public servant merely by testifying. There is no statutory definition of witness.
RCW 9A.76.180 expressly provides that jurors are not public servants for the purposes of the charge of intimidating a public servant. Intimidating a juror is a separate crime in RCW 9A.72.130.
A “public servant” under RCW 9A.04.110(23) includes a person who has failed to complete a technical requirement for his or her position but who properly holds the position de facto. For example, a superior court judge who neglects to file his or her oath of office with the Secretary of State is still a “public servant,” because filing the oath is not a condition precedent for assuming the duties of office. State v. Stephenson, 89 Wn.App. 794, 950 P.2d 38 (1998).
A transit fare enforcement officer, employed by a private entity for carrying out fare enforcement, was neither a public officer nor a public servant for purposes of a prosecution for making false statements to public officer. State v. K.L.B., 180 Wn.2d 735, 328 P.3d 886 (2014).
[Current as of November 2018.]
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