April 10, 2013: In response to reader comment, fixed broken link to instruction for cruelty to a child.

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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.”

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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August 31, 2012: In State v. Bourn, 2012 VT 71 (Aug. 31, 2012), the Vermont Supreme Court held that the offense of aggravated assault by threatening to use a deadly weapon, 13 V.S.A. § 1024(a)(5), “requires that the actor subjectively intend to threaten another person with a deadly weapon.”  The committee does not currently have an instruction for offenses arising under § 1024(a)(5).

In State v. Brandt, 2012 VT 73 (Aug. 31, 2012), the Vermont Supreme Court cautioned against the use of instructions on excited utterances, or other instructions that explain the admission of certain evidence to the jury, in the absence of special circumstances.

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August 30, 2012:  Welcome to the new internet home of the Vermont Criminal Jury Instructions.  The instructions on this website have been developed by the Vermont Criminal Jury Instruction Committee and are sponsored by the Vermont Bar Association.

Please use the drop-down menus above, the search function to the right, or the table of contents (linked at the bottom right) to find the individual instructions and their accompanying reporter’s notes. 

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