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Criminal Jury Instructions  

Criminal Jury Instructions

 

SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY

"Serious physical injury" is something more serious than mere physical injury, which is defined as "impairment of physical condition or pain."  It is more than a minor or superficial injury.  It is defined by statute as "physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ."

Source:  General Statutes § 53a-3 (4) (applies to Penal Code).

Commentary:  The forms of "serious physical injury" are not distinct, alternative methods of committing a crime.  The jurors need only determine unanimously whether the victim suffered a serious physical injury; they do not have to agree on which type of injury.  State v. Wynter, 19 Conn. App. 654, 666, cert. denied, 213 Conn. 802 (1989).

Serious physical injury does not need to be permanent.  State v. Denson, 67 Conn. App. 803, 811, cert. denied, 260 Conn. 915 (2002); see also State v. Aponte, 50 Conn. App. 114, 121 (1998), rev'd in part on other grounds, 249 Conn. 735 (1999) (medical testimony that injuries put victim at risk of death at the time and temporarily impaired her vision); State v. Rumore, 28 Conn. App. 402, 415, cert. denied, 224 Conn. 906 (1992) (unconciousness was a serious impairment); see also State v. Rossier, 175 Conn. 204 (1978) (evidence of emotional trauma precipitated by incident was insufficient to support conclusion that serious physical injury had been inflicted). 

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