We are pleased to provide an electronic copy of the criminal jury instructions developed by the Michigan State Bar Criminal Jury Instruction Committee and presently in use for criminal trials. On October 30, 2013, by Administrative Order 2013–13, the Michigan Supreme Court appointed a new committee—the Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions. That committee is composed of attorneys and judges whose duty it will be to ensure that the criminal jury instructions accurately and understandably inform jurors about the legal process in which they will participate and the law that they are to apply.
The members of the committee are:
Hon. William J. Caprathe (Chair)
Ronald J. Bretz
Stacia J. Buchanan
J. Mark Cooney
Hon. John T. Hammond
Hon. Timothy G. Hicks
Bonita S. Hoffman
Hon. Annette M Jurkiewicz-Berry
Louisa M. Papalas-Concessi
Hon. Paul J. Paruk
Hon. Gene Schnelz
Rudolph A. Serra
Torchio W. Feaster
Lawrence B. Shulman
Hon. Brian R. Sullivan
Stephen M. Taratuta
William J. Vailliencourt, Jr.
The Supreme Court Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions is charged with providing trial courts with instructions that are concise, understandable and accurate. For purposes of establishing a beginning point for this body of work, this Committee recognizes the efforts of the Michigan State Bar Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, finding that the current instructions accurately reflect Michigan jurisprudence, and describe trial procedures and duties in a manner that makes the legal process comprehensible to jurors.
Therefore, this Committee endorses and affirms those instructions previously developed by the State Bar Committee, now published on the State Supreme Court’s website, as an accurate statement of the law and description of legal procedures and duties.
The Committee recognizes that the Model Jury Instructions do not include instructions for every criminal offense. Further, changes in the law, whether through statutory amendments by the Legislature or statutory interpretation by the courts, may require variance from the published instructions before the Committee can devise and publish new instructions. Hence, a trial court may sometimes need to provide additional instructions or modify current instructions. The evidence in a particular case or events that occur during a trial may also provide a reason to vary from the standard instructions. Linguistic changes aimed at making the instructions more understandable are not discouraged, so long as changes do not alter an instruction’s essential meaning.
In order to prioritize the Committee’s duty to formulate instructions for offenses not yet included in the Model Jury Instructions, the Committee requests that practitioners who try cases that do not yet have instructions contact the Reporter with those offenses.
The instructions are posted above in PDF format. You will find clickable table of contents throughout the document, as well as bookmarks along the left side for easy navigation.