Tag: jury instructions

The Court Assumes that Husbands Know It’s Illegal to Hold their Wives Captive for 3 Days

In State v. Johnson, the Washington Supreme Court provided two rulings.  First, it unanimously held that a charging document does not need to provide legal definitions of all the concepts within it to provide constitutionally sufficient notice to the defendant. Second, it ruled 7-2 that a jury must only be given a general criminal law … Continue Reading

Discretion Prevails: Trial Courts May Rule on Jury Instructions When Asked…or Not

In a unanimous decision, the Washington Supreme Court clarified Washington’s Criminal Court Rules by holding that it is within the trial court’s discretion to provide preliminary rulings on jury instructions during trial. The Court then affirmed Ronald Mendes’s second degree murder conviction after rejecting his argument that he was “compelled” to testify in his defense.… Continue Reading
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