Massachusetts Law Updates

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Tag Archives: jury instructions

Comments Invited on Proposed Changes to Model Jury Instructions on Homicide Posted on May 5

The Supreme Judicial Court Model Homicide Instruction Committee invites comments on proposed revisions to the Model Jury Instructions on Homicide. The proposed revisions largely serve to update the instructions to reflect changes arising from opinions in recent years and to clarify portions of the instructions   …Continue Reading Comments Invited on Proposed Changes to Model Jury Instructions on Homicide

New Jury Instructions on Eyewitness Identification Announced Posted on Nov 18

Last week, we told you about our new webpage, Mass. Law About Eyewitness Identification. Less than a week later, we have an update! The Supreme Judicial Court has just announced new jury instructions on eyewitness identification. “The new Model Instruction replaces the provisional instruction approved   …Continue Reading New Jury Instructions on Eyewitness Identification Announced

New District Court Criminal Jury Instructions Posted on May 22

The Massachusetts District Court Department issued 4 new criminal jury instructions in March 2015.  Two instructions address assault on a family and household member (6.270 and 6.275).  The others are on suffocation (6.390) and strangulation (6.395).

New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt Posted on Jan 30

New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt

For over a century, judges in Massachusetts have been strongly encouraged to use the “Webster” instruction on reasonable doubt, written by Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw in Commonwealth v. Webster, 5 Cush. 295 (1850), when explaining the legal concept to jurors in criminal cases.   In fact, “the Webster charge   …Continue Reading New Mandatory Jury Instruction on Reasonable Doubt

Memory and Eyewitness Identification Posted on Jan 21

Recent advances in the study of human memory have changed the way we understand memory.  As science has progressed, the courts have tried to adjust the law to incorporate the principles that are “generally accepted”. In 2013, the SJC study group released a report on   …Continue Reading Memory and Eyewitness Identification

Eyewitness Identification Posted on Jan 13

Yesterday, in Commonwealth v. Gomes, the Supreme Judicial Court issued “a new provisional jury instruction regarding eyewitness identification.” The court explained, “We have made the jury instruction provisional to allow for public comment and possible future revision before we declare it a model, but it should   …Continue Reading Eyewitness Identification