The Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (MPJI-CR) has been an essential reference for a generation of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys. “[D]rafted by ‘a group of distinguished judges and lawyers who almost amount to a “Who’s Who” of the Maryland Bench and Bar,’” Johnson v. State, 223 Md. App. 128, 152 (2015) (quoting Green v. State, 127 Md. App. 758, 771 (1999)), the MPJI-CR is reviewed and updated regularly to ensure that it is the most authoritative source for current, clear, and concise jury instructions in the State of Maryland. There are more than 200 instructions that explain the elements of virtually every statutory and common law offense, identify parties and witnesses, provide introductory and cautionary instructions for the jury, and offer guidance for its consideration of evidence and defenses. Logically arranged, indexed and cross-referenced, the instructions are accompanied by commentary and citations to authority that make MPJI-CR an indispensable primer on the fundamentals of criminal law, whether or not trial by jury is contemplated.

The MSBA and the Standing Criminal Sub-Committee on Maryland Pattern Jury Instructions are pleased to announce the release of the 2021 revisions to the Second Edition of the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions. In addition to a new COVID-19 jury instruction [1:00:1], the 2021 revisions reflect statutory and common law developments regarding the number of witnesses [3:16], the identification of the defendant [3:30], child abuse [4:07.2], conspiracy [4:08], voluntary manslaughter [4:17.2; 4:17.3; 4:17.4; 4:17.5], and  kidnapping [4:19.1].

These revisions add to those made in 2020, which included new stand-alone instructions for a number of offenses (e.g.,CDS volume dealer, driving while impaired by CDS, first degree assault, harassment, voluntary manslaughter/imperfect self-defense), including instructions for newly legislated crimes like revenge porn and sextortion. Several other instructions were edited to conform with evolving jurisprudence, including:

  • Abuse of Child/Vulnerable Adult [MPJI-CR 4:07.4]
  • Burglary [MPJI-CR 4:06 et seq.]
  • Importation of CDS [MPJI-CR 4:24.9]
  • Parental Discipline [MPJI-CR 4:07; 4:07.1; 4.07.2]
  • Resisting Arrest [MPJI-CR 4:27]
  • Testimony of Accomplice [MPJI-CR 3:11]

Corresponding revisions to the indices, table of contents, and table of authorities ensure that the MPJI-CR will continue to offer ready access to the instructions and the  authorities that explain their use.  The commentary and notes for using the instructions have also been updated where necessary to explain the statutory or interpretative changes behind each revision. 

The Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions (Second Edition, 2021 Replacement Pages) is now available in print and electronic versions.