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Guide Superior Court Model Jury Instructions

September 8, 2021

Table of Contents

Introduction

These Model Jury Instructions have been drafted by a committee of Superior Court judges. They are designed to be legally accurate and easy for jurors to understand and for judges and practitioners to use. The instructions will be revised regularly to keep current with developments in statutory and case law. They are published here in both PDF and searchable Microsoft Word format, and are accompanied by a Table of Contents organized by topic.

These Model Jury Instructions are intended to be just that—models. Judges have broad discretion and inherent authority to decide how to instruct a jury, whether it is by adapting these models, crafting their own instructions, or starting with some other model. The District Court Criminal Model Jury Instructions and District Court Civil Model Jury Instructions are among those other sets of model jury instructions that may serve as useful guides.  

Please note that while these Model Jury Instructions sometimes use the pronouns “he/she” or “he,” that is for convenience only. It does not reflect a judgment of any kind by the Court on gender identity or expression. Judges and practitioners should modify and adapt these models to ensure they are appropriate for each case.

The Superior Court welcomes input regarding these instructions. Please forward your comments or suggestions to Superior Court Deputy Legal Counsel Alex Philipson at alex.philipson@jud.ma.state.us.
 

Drafting plain language jury instructions

Civil instruction scripts (empanelment, precharge, final charge)

  • Empanelment script: individual voir dire (Word) | (PDF)
  • Empanelment script: panel voir dire (Word) | (PDF)
  • Precharge script (Word) | (PDF)
  • Final charge script (civil jury instruction template) (Word) | (PDF)

Civil instructions

Contract

Tort

Criminal instruction scripts (empanelment, precharge, final charge)

  • Empanelment script: individual voir dire (Word) | (PDF)
  • Empanelment script: panel voir dire (Word) | (PDF)
  • Precharge script (Word) | (PDF)
  • Final charge script (criminal jury instruction template) (Word) | (PDF)

Criminal instructions

Crimes against the person

  • Armed home invasion (Word) | (PDF)
  • Assault (Word) | (PDF)
  • Assault and battery (with supplemental charges) (Word) | (PDF)
  • Assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (with supplemental charges) (Word) | (PDF)
  • Homicide (SJC) (Word) | (PDF)
  • Mayhem (Word) | (PDF)
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