Jury Instruction Error Cases In Michigan

The instructional errors are subject to harmless error analysis. People v. Grant, 445 Mich 535, 543; 520 NW2d 123 (1994). However, because defendant did not request the instructions, defendant must demonstrate that he has not forfeited the unpreserved error. Because the failure to give the instructions was unpreserved nonconstitutional error, Grant, supra at 547, defendant can avoid forfeiture only by showing that the error was a plain error affecting substantial rights. People v. Carines, 460 Mich 750, 763; 597 N.W.2d 130 (1999). We conclude that the error was plain, in that it was "clear and obvious." Carines, supra at 763; Grant, supra at 552. To show that the error affected defendant's substantial rights, defendant must persuade the reviewing court that the error was prejudicial, that is, that the error affected the outcome of the lower court proceedings. Carines, supra; Grant, supra at 553.