WPIC17.06.01Self-Defense Reimbursement—Concluding Instruction
Washington Practice Series TMWashington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
11 Wash. Prac., Pattern Jury Instr. Crim. WPIC 17.06.01 (4th Ed)
Washington Practice Series TM
Washington Pattern Jury Instructions--Criminal
October 2016 Update
Part IV. Defenses
WPIC CHAPTER 17. Lawful Force—Charges Other than Homicide
WPIC 17.06.01 Self-Defense Reimbursement—Concluding Instruction
If a defendant's use of force was [justified] [lawful], as defined in this instruction, the defendant has the right to be reimbursed by the State of Washington for the reasonable cost of all loss of time, legal fees, or other expenses involved in his or her defense.
In order for the court to award the defendant reasonable costs for the expenses incurred in defending this action, you must find that the defendant has proved the claim of [justifiable homicide] [lawful force] by a preponderance of the evidence.
When it is said that a claim must be proved by a preponderance of the evidence, it means that you must be persuaded, considering all the evidence in the case, that the claim is more probably true than not true.
For this part of the trial, you will use the following definition of [lawful] [justified] force:
(Insert here the applicable definition from WPIC Chapter 16, as revised to use an objective standard; see the Comment.)
You have been provided with a special verdict form to be used in answering the question of whether defendant has met [his] [her] burden of establishing [lawful] [justified] use of force. Because this is a civil question, [ten] [five] or more of you must agree to return a verdict. When [ten] [five] of you have agreed, the presiding juror will sign the special verdict form, regardless of whether or not the presiding juror agrees with the special verdict. You will then notify the bailiff who will escort you into court to declare your special verdict.
NOTE ON USE
This is the written concluding instruction for cases in which the defendant is seeking indemnification or reimbursement from the State pursuant to RCW 9A.16.110.
Use bracketed material as applicable.
Use WPIC 190.07 (Self-Defense Reimbursement—Special Verdict Form) with this instruction.
The statute provides that no person may be placed in legal jeopardy for protecting, by any reasonable means necessary, person or property against certain crimes listed. The statute further provides that a defendant whose actions are found justified shall be indemnified or reimbursed by the State of Washington. The indemnification or reimbursement is an award of reasonable costs for loss of time, legal fees, or other expenses incurred by the defendant. An award of reasonable costs is not an independent cause of action. The determination of an award shall be “by the judge or jury at the discretion of the judge in the criminal proceeding” and must be based upon a finding that the defendant's claim of self-defense was sustained by a preponderance of the evidence.
In State v. Manuel, 94 Wn.2d 695, 619 P.2d 977 (1980), the Washington Supreme Court found that RCW 9.01.200 (recodified as RCW 9A.16.110) “contemplates” an objective determination that the person's actions were justified and that a “full determination of the facts” is required, which in a given case may include consideration of evidence that might be inadmissible in a criminal trial but admissible in a civil proceeding. Also see State v. Watson, 55 Wn.App. 320, 777 P.2d 46 (1989). This will require modifying the self-defense instructions given at trial by deleting language that sets forth a subjective standard and inserting language that sets forth an objective standard.
In Washington, it is a defense if the use of force was either “lawful” (see RCW 9A.16.020) or “justified” (see RCW 9A.16.040). The language used in RCW 9A.16.110 is inconsistent with the language of RCW 9A.16.020 and RCW 9A.16.040. RCW 9A.16.110 uses the phrase “self-defense,” rather than “use of force.” The committee has used “use of force,” “justifiable homicide,” “lawful force,” etc., in these instructions to be consistent with the language in the self-defense instructions given at trial.
Municipal courts. The reimbursement procedure of RCW 9A.16.110 applies only when the state of Washington is the prosecuting authority. It does not apply to prosecutions in municipal courts. In such a situation, the only remedy available for a defendant who successfully defends on a claim of self-defense is to seek reimbursement directly from the Legislature pursuant to RCW 4.92.040. City of Seattle v. Fontanilla, 128 Wn.2d 492, 505–06, 909 P.2d 1294 (1996). Because of the availability of this remedy, even in municipal prosecutions, use of the special verdict form of WPIC 190.07 (Special Verdict Form—Self-Defense Reimbursement) may be appropriate.
[Current as of December 2015.]
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