July 7, 2014: In light of State v. Bolaski, 2014 VT 36, a new instruction has been added for use in homicide cases where there is prima facie evidence of extenuating circumstances. It can be found on the homicide page, along with updated Reporter’s Notes summarizing the committee’s reaction to Bolaski.
June 16, 2014: New instructions for identity theft (13 V.S.A. § 2030(a)) and for obtaining a regulated drug by deceit (18 V.S.A. § 4223(a)(1)) have been added.
May 9, 2013: The revised instructions on kidnapping and unlawful restraint are now available here.
May 9, 2013: Please welcome our new reporter, Ben McIntyre.
April 10, 2013: In response to reader comment, fixed broken link to instruction for cruelty to a child.
March 15, 2013. A busy day for jury instructions at the Vermont Supreme Court. In State v. Casey, 2013 VT 22, the Court provided guidance on how a jury should be instructed in the event that a codefendant pleads guilty in the middle of a trial. In State v. Snow, 2013 VT 19, the Court provided guidance on the element of compulsion in a sexual-assault trial when the victim is alleged to have been asleep or incapacitated at the time of the alleged act. And in a civil case, Fagnant v. Foss, 2013 VT 16, the Court endorsed “the proposition that where courts can provide clear guidance with concise, “plain-English” instructions that convey the proper legal standards, they should do so.”
December 19, 2012: The new instruction on aggravated assault by threatening another with a deadly weapon, 13 V.S.A. § 1024(a)(5), is available here.
November 26, 2012. The revised instruction on unlawful restraint, incorporating language from State v. Carrasquillo, is now available here. Please note that the kidnapping instruction should be updated as well, but this change has not been made yet.
October 29, 2012: At the Fall 2012 meeting, the committee (1) revised instructions on kidnapping and unlawful restraint to incorporate language from State v. Carrasquillo regarding whether a confinement has become sufficiently substantial to meet the elements of the crime. See 173 Vt. 557, 561 (2002) (mem.) (explaining that the focus of the analysis is “on the quality and nature of the restraint rather than just on duration”); and (2) approved a new instruction on aggravated assault by threat with a deadly weapon, 13 V.S.A. § 1024(a)(5). Both will be posted soon.
The committee welcomes substantive comments as well as any reports of technical glitches by email. Please know that your suggestion will be considered even though you will not receive an email reply.
September 5, 2012: At the Spring 2012 meeting, the committee took the following actions: (1) a revised definition of the mental state of “willfulness” throughout the instructions; (2) new instructions on juror use of electronic devices, following State v. Abdi, 2012 VT 4; and (3) new instructions on interference with access to emergency services. All of these changes have been added to the website.