Research guides

Federal Practice & Procedure

Jury Instructions - Criminal

"Most jurisdictions have published sets of model or pattern jury instructions, used by judges to explain the applicable law to jurors. Model jury instructions are useful in research because they provide a concise summary of a jurisdiction's law on the issues covered, often accompanied by notes summarizing the leading cases." Morris L. Cohen & Kent C. Olson, Legal Research in a Nutshell § 7-6, at 213 (12th ed. 2016).

Select federal jurisdictions have developed model criminal jury instructions. The most up-to-date instructions are available on the courts' websites. Instructions may also be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers and in print. For additional, non-jurisdictional, federal criminal jury instructions, see Federal Jury Practice and Instructions or Modern Federal Jury Instructions. See below for more details.

Third Circuit Model Criminal Jury Instructions

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals makes its jury instructions available on its website: Model Criminal Jury Instructions. All instructions available in PDF format and either Word or WordPerfect format.

The instructions are also available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers as well as in print.

Free Online Resources

Select federal jurisdictions have developed model criminal jury instructions. The most up-to-date instructions are available on the courts' websites. See below for more details.

Model Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Third Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Federal Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
Criminal instructions only.

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Model Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Manual of Model Criminal Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Criminal instructions only.

Pattern Jury Instructions U.S. Ct. of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Includes civil and criminal.

Member Databases

The following member database includes access to model criminal jury instructions. Members must be logged in to jenkinslaw.org to access this database. This database is also available in the library.  

Modern Federal Jury Instructions
Available on the LexisNexis Digital Library. See "Criminal" (vols. 1-3 and Star vols. 1-3). Pattern instructions for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits are found in the Star volumes.
Also on the library's Lexis computers and in print.

Onsite Print & Electronic

When available, Jenkins retains print copies of federal jury instructions. Instructions may also be reprinted in additional resources. Select resources may be available on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers. See below for additional information.

Circuit Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions
Also on the library's Lexis and Westlaw computers.
Library has criminal pattern jury instructions for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th circuits. Check the courts' websites for possible updates.

Federal Jury Practice and Instructions: Civil and Criminal West
Also on the library's Westlaw computers. Criminal Companion Handbook also available. Includes pattern instructions for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits.
Also referred to as O'Malley's. Prior editions referred to as Devitt and Blackmar. Library also has previous editions: see all.

Modern Federal Jury Instructions LexisNexis
Also on the library's Lexis computers and on the LexisNexis Digital Library. Pattern instructions for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th Circuits are found in the Star volumes.