Washington Pattern Jury Instructions–Criminal (W.P.I.C.)

Part IV. Defenses  Chapter 16.  Justifiable Homicide

WA  W.P.I.C. 16.01 Justifiable Homicide—Peace Officer or Others In Aid of Officer

It is a defense to a charge of [murder][manslaughter] that the homicide was justifiable as defined in this instruction.

Homicide or the use of deadly force is justifiable:

[when necessarily used by a peace officer to overcome actual resistance to the execution of the legal process, mandate, or order of a court or officer, or in discharge of a legal duty][or]

[when necessarily used by a peace officer or person acting under the officer’s command and in the officer’s aid [to arrest or apprehend a person who the officer reasonably believes has committed, has attempted to commit, is committing, or is attempting to commit a felony][or][to prevent the escape of a person from a federal or state correctional facility or in retaking a person who escapes from such a facility][or][to prevent the escape of a person from a county or city jail or holding facility if the person has been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of a felony][or][to lawfully suppress a riot if the actor or another participant is armed with a deadly weapon]. In considering whether to use deadly force to arrest or apprehend any person for the commission of any crime, a peace officer must have probable cause to believe that the suspect, if not apprehended, poses a threat of serious physical harm to others. Among the circumstances that may be considered by a peace officer as a “threat of serious physical harm” are the following: (a) The suspect threatens a peace officer with a weapon or displays a weapon in a manner that could reasonably be construed as threatening; or (b) There is probable cause to believe that the suspect has committed any crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm. Under these circumstances deadly force may also be used if necessary to prevent escape from the officer, when, if feasible, some warning is given.]

[A peace officer shall not be held criminally liable for using deadly force without malice and with a good faith belief that such act is justifiable.]

The State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the homicide was not justifiable. If you find that the State has not proved the absence of this defense beyond a reasonable doubt, it will be your duty to return a verdict of not guilty.