Jury Instructions Now Free Due to Efforts of WACDL and Public.Resource.Org., Inc.

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Jury Instructions Now Free Due to Efforts of WACDL and Public.Resource.Org., Inc.

As a result of efforts by Public Resource.Org, Inc.  and the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Wisconsin Jury  Instructions are now available to the public, judges, and lawyers on line, at no cost.  Previously the jury instruction were available only from the University of Wisconsin - Extension, which held the copyright and charged for print copies of the instructions. 


Here is the link to the Wisconsin State Law Library criminal jury instructions page.  https://wilawlibrary.gov/jury/criminal/


Public Resourse.Org brought the case before the United States Supreme Court that helped make this possible. "We are very pleased that jury instructions are now freely available online, not only to judges and the bar, but to all the citizens of Wisconsin." said Carl Malmud, with Public Resource.Org.  "These materials are some of the best explanations of the law, using plain English to explain to citizens and jurors what should be considered when deciding cases. These materials are now available for anybody to read to learn more about our system of justice and we are pleased that the Wisconsin Supreme Court made this change in their policies." 


WACDL member and Past-President Attorney Chad Lanning, with Lubar & Lanning, in Milwaukee,  worked with the UW to implement the holding of the Supreme Court in Wisconsin.  "WACDL has long sought to make the jury instructions freely available to everyone and after the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Georgia et.al. v. Public.Resource.org, Inc., 140 U.St. 1498 (2020)(reaffirming that under "the government edicts doctrine, officials empowered to speak with the force of law cannot be the authors of— and therefore cannot copyright—the works they create in the course of their official duties.")" Lanning said. "We renewed that conversation with the assistance of Public.Resource.org.  It was not long until we all were in agreement that Wisconsin's Jury Instructions would be made freely available to the public.   We celebrate, along with all citizens of Wisconsin, that that day has now arrived."

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