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AGO 1953 No. 13 - April 21, 1953
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Don Eastvold | 1953-1956 | Attorney General of Washington

FEES ‑- COURT REPORTERS ‑- COSTS ‑- CRIMINAL CASES ‑- PREPARATION OF INSTRUCTIONS FOR JURY.

Charges for preparation of copies of instructions to jury by court reporter are taxable as costs, and should be so taxed.

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                                                                   April 21, 1953

Honorable Hugh H. Evans
Prosecuting Attorney
Spokane County
Spokane, Washington                                                                                                                Cite as:  AGO 53-55 No. 13

 Attention:  !ttJoseph J. Rekofke,Deputy Prosecuting Attorney

 Dear Sir:

             We have received your request of April 10, 1953, for an opinion upon the following question:

             Are the fees charged by the court reporters for the preparation of instructions in criminal cases taxable as costs?

             In our opinion the answer to this question is "Yes."

                                                                      ANALYSIS

             We assume that you refer to preparation of copies of the instructions as fixed by the court after consideration of proposed instructions by counsel, which copies are to be distributed to counsel and to the jury.

             We believe that the answer to your inquiry may be found in Rule 8 of Pleading, Practice and Procedure, 34A Wn. (2d) 73, 74, which provides in relevant part:

             "The court must reduce the charge to be given to the jury to writing and cause copies thereof to be furnished to counsel; and, at the conclusion of the evidence, he shall read his written charge to the jury.   [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] * * * If a stenographer shall be in attendance upon the trial of the cause, the court shall have the right to dictate the charge he desiresto give to such stenographer, and to have the stenographer reduce the same to writing for him and a copy for each of the parties plaintiff and defendant; and the cost thereof, if any, shall be taxed as other costs in the action.  * * *"  (Emphasis supplied)

             This rule was adopted in 1926 by the Supreme Court, and first appeared in 140 Wash. xxxviii, pursuant to the authority of section 1, chapter 118, Laws Ex. Sess. 1925 (R.R.S. section 13-1; RCW 2.04.190), which provided that the Supreme Court may

             "* * * regulate and prescribe by rule the * * * kind and character of the entire pleading, practice and procedure to be used in all suits, actions * * * and proceedings of whatever nature by the * * * superior courts * * * of the state.  * * *"  (Emphasis supplied)

             The quoted portion of the rule has not been altered since its adoption.  Other portions of the same rule have been applied to both civil and criminal jury trials.  We believe that it is controlling in criminal as well as civil actions.

             We conclude that charges for preparation of copies of instructions to the jury are taxable as costs, and should be so taxed in accordance with RCW 10.46.190 and RCW 10.46.210.

 Very truly yours,
DON EASTVOLD
Attorney General 

A. J. HUTTON, JR.
Assistant Attorney General

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