November-December 2012

Keeping the State Bar’s criminal pattern jury charges current

John Stride

TDCAA Senior Appellate Attorney

Dear colleagues, as you will be aware, the State Bar of Texas is publishing criminal pattern jury charges. You may not know, however, that in just the last four years, the parent committee on criminal pattern jury charges (composed of approximately 20 members drawn from the bench, prosecutor’s offices, defense practice, and academia) has prepared no less than three volumes of pattern jury charges that have been released: Intoxication and Controlled Substances (2009), Defenses (2010), and Crimes Against Persons (2011). There are over 900 pages of materials already. A fourth volume of Crimes Against Property, addressing arson, burglary, criminal trespass, theft and related offenses, and the misapplication of fiduciary property will be published this winter.  Moreover, the parent committee is currently preparing a fifth volume to include pattern charges on:  attempts, solicitation, conspiracy, organized criminal activity, and money laundering. 
    The criminal pattern jury charges are gaining traction across the state. Accordingly, to ensure the charges are based on current law, consistent across the volumes as the series evolve, and most useful to practitioners, a subcommittee has been tasked with updating the first two volumes. In preparing the updates, the subcommittee is interested in receiving comments and suggestions on the current charges.
    Members of the bench and bar are invited to submit comments addressing the contents of the first two volumes. Comments useful to the committee will include specific feedback on the content and utility of the first two volumes as currently formatted.   The deadline for submitting comments is December 31, 2012.
    Comments should be directed to me at [email protected] or by calling 512/484-2381.