Modified Instructions for First Degree CSC Cases

Effective April 2015

The Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions issued modified instructions to be used in certain first-degree criminal sexual conduct cases.  Effective April 2015, these modified instructions apply when the prosecution charges the defendant under M.C.L. 750.520b(2)(b), which mandates a 25-year minimum prison sentence for a person over 17 years old who sexually penetrates a person less than 13 years old.  The modified instructions reflect the recent ruling of the United States Supreme Court that facts triggering a mandatory minimum must be admitted by the defendant or submitted to a jury and proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Alleyne v. United States, 570 U.S. __; 133 S. Ct. 2151 (2013).

A new instruction, M. Crim. J. I. 20.30b, directs the jury to make special findings regarding the respective ages of the defendant and the complainant.  A new verdict form, M. Crim. J. I. 3.32, is available for reporting the verdict and special findings.  The Committee also amended the existing instruction for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, M. Crim. J. I. 20.1, to reference the new instructions.  These changes make it clear that the prosecution bears the burden of proving the defendant’s age and the complainant’s age beyond a reasonable doubt.

by Chris Smith
Assistant Defender, SADO
Member, Committee on Model Criminal Jury Instructions

Article published in Criminal Defense Newsletter, April 2015, Volume 38, Issue 7. For subscription information, contact Heather Waara at