THE FINAL JURY INSTRUCTIONS SHOULD EXPLAIN THE PROCEDURES FOR REQUESTING CLARIFICATION OF INSTRUCTIONS. THE JUDGE SHOULD ADVISE THE JURY TO SUBMIT ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT INSTRUCTIONS IN WRITING TO THE BAILIFF.
WHEN A JURY QUESTION ARISES DURING DELIBERATIONS, THE QUESTION SHOULD BE NUMBERED, DESIGNATED BY TIME AND DATE, FILED AND MADE A PART OF THE RECORD. THE JUDGE
SHOULD NOTIFY THE PARTIES OR THEIR COUNSEL THAT THE JURY HAS SUBMITTED A QUESTION AND DIRECT THEM TO MEET IN THE COURTROOM OR BY TELEPHONE. THE JUDGE SHOULD READ THE QUESTION AND SOLICIT COMMENTS FROM COUNSEL REGARDING THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSE. THE RESPONSE AND ANY OBJECTIONS TO IT SHOULD BE ENTERED ON THE RECORD.
THE JUDGE SHOULD, AFTER CONSULTING WITH COUNSEL, RESPOND TO ALL JURY QUESTIONS, EVEN IF THE RESPONSE IS NO MORE THAN A DIRECTIVE FOR THE JURY TO CONTINUE ITS DELIBERATIONS. IF THE JUDGE PROVIDES ANY ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTION IN RESPONSE TO A JURY QUESTION, THE JUDGE SHOULD REMIND THE JURY NOT TO EMPHASIZE ANY PARTICULAR INSTRUCTION OR PART OF ANY INSTRUCTION, BUT RATHER TO CONSIDER THE INSTRUCTIONS AS A WHOLE. RESPONSES TO JURY QUESTIONS ON ANY POINT OF LAW SHOULD BE DELIVERED TO THE JURY IN WRITING. THE JUDGE SHOULD ENSURE THAT ANY ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT COERCIVE OR UNFAIRLY PREJUDICIAL TO EITHER PARTY.
THE ABOVE PROCESS SHOULD BE MANDATED BY COURT RULE.
CR 51(i), (j); CRLJ 51(i), (j); CrR 6.15(f); CrRLJ 6.15(e);
Hue v. Farmboy Spray Co., Inc., 127 Wn.2d 67, 896 P.2d 682 (1995) [trial court has discretion in deciding whether to give additional jury instructions].
Adcox v. Children’s Orthopedic Hospital & Medical Center, 123 Wn.2d 15, 864 P.2d 921 (1993) [trial court must not indicate its personal attitude toward evidence or merits of the case in instructing jury].
State v. Ransom, 56 Wn. App. 712, 785 P.2d 469 (1990) [supplemental instruction in response to jury question after deliberations have begun may not introduce new theory that neither party has previously advanced];
B. Michael Dann, “Educated & Democratic Juries”, 68 Ind. L. J.1229, 1260-61 (1993).
Lawrence J. Severance & Elizabeth F. Loftus, “Improving the Ability of Jurors to Comprehend and Apply Criminal Jury Instructions”, 17 Law & Soc. Rev. 153, 161 (1982);
Vincent J. O’Neill, Jr., “Famous Last Words: Responding to Requests and Questions of Deliberating Jurors in Criminal Cases”, 11 Crim. Just. J. 381 (1989).
G. Thomas Munsterman, et al., Jury Trial Innovations, 177-179 (3rd ed. 1997).