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Instructions:

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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 December 22, 2014, 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. Timothy G. Hicks (Chair)

Timothy A. Baughman

Hon. Kathleen M. Brickley

Stacia J. Buchanan

Paul John Cusick

Hon. Joyce A. Draganchuk

Michael G. Frezza

Bonita S. Hoffman

John Paul Hunt

Hon. Hala Y. Jarbou

Charles F. Justian

Lisa B. Kirsch Satawa

Hon. Alexander C. Lipsey

John R. Minock

Laura L. Moody

Hon. Paul J. Paruk

​Melissa A. Powell

Stephen T. Rabaut

Rudolph A. Serra

Christopher Smith

Hon. Kurtis T. Wilder

 
 
The Supreme Court Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions, the successor to the Michigan State Bar Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions, is charged with providing trial courts with instructions that are concise, understandable and accurate.  The instructions are intended to describe trial procedures and duties in a manner that makes the legal process comprehensible to jurors, and to correctly state the law so that the jurors can apply it to the facts as they determine them to be.
Though the instructions are intended to be an accurate statement of the law, and their use is required under MCR 2.512(D)(2) if they are appropriate and correctly state the law, the courts are charged with providing juries with instructions that accurately reflect Michigan jurisprudence.  Where that is not the case, the court may alter the instructions.  Furthermore, changes in the law, whether through statutory amendments by the Legislature or statutory interpretation by the courts, may call for variance from the published instructions before the Committee can devise and publish new instructions, and 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 deviate from the standard instructions.  Linguistic changes aimed at making the instructions more understandable are not discouraged, so long as any changes do not alter an instruction’s essential meaning. 
The Committee is charged with providing instructions for all criminal offenses.  However, the Model Jury Instructions do not yet include instructions for every crime.  In the event that the prosecutor or Attorney General has charged an offense for which there is no instruction, the trial court will be obliged to create instructions.  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 judges or practitioners who try cases that do not yet have instructions contact the Reporter with those offenses, and with any proposed instructions for the Committee’s consideration.  Proposed instructions awaiting public comment and recently adopted jury instructions can be found in the right-hand column on this page.
The instructions are posted above in three formats.  The PDF format has a clickable table of contents throughout the document, as well as bookmarks along the left side for easy navigation.  There is a Word format with all instructions and references.  There is also a copy-and-paste format with all of the instructions, but without legal references or commentary; it is intended for use by the courts when providing jurors with written copies of the instructions that have been read by the judge.

​Michigan Supreme Court Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions

Michigan Hall of Justice

PO Box 30052

Lansing, MI 48909

Phone: (517) 373-4525

 

Sam Smith,
Committee Reporter

MCrimJI@courts.mi.gov

 

To comment on existing instructions or instructions published for comment, or to suggest amendments or new instructions, please contact the committee reporter.