History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

   
Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

3.2-2  Attempt -- § 53a-49 (a) (2)

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified April 23, 2010)

The defendant is charged [in count __] with attempt to commit <insert substantive offense>.  The statute defining attempt reads in pertinent part as follows:

a person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime if, acting with the kind of mental state required for commission of the crime, (he/she) intentionally does or omits to do anything which, under the circumstances as (he/she) believes them to be, is an act or omission constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in (his/her) commission of the crime. 

For you to find the defendant guilty of this charge, the state must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 

Element 1 - Intent
The first element is that the defendant had the kind of mental state required for commission of the crime of <insert substantive offense>.  The intent for that crime is the intent to <insert intent required for substantive offense>. 

Element 2 - Conduct
The second element is that the defendant intentionally did anything that, under the circumstances as (he/she) believed them to be, was an act constituting a substantial step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in (his/her) commission of the crime of <insert substantive offense>.  To be a substantial step, the conduct must be strongly corroborative of the defendant's criminal purpose.1  The act or acts must constitute more than mere preparation.  The defendant's conduct must be at least the start of a line of conduct that will lead naturally to the commission of a crime.  In other words, it must appear to the defendant that it was at least possible that the crime could be committed if (he/she) continued on (his/her) course of conduct. 

Conclusion

If, upon all the evidence, you conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had formed in (his/her) mind the intention to commit <insert substantive crime> as it has been defined for you, you must next consider whether (he/she) intentionally did anything that would constitute a substantial step towards the commission of the crime.  In other words, the state must prove both intent and conduct beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to commit <insert substantive crime> and took a substantial step toward the commission of that crime, then you shall find the defendant guilty.  On the other hand, if you unanimously find that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either of these elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
_______________________________________________________

1 General Statutes § 53a-49 (b) (providing examples of substantial steps). 

Commentary

"There are two essential elements of an attempt under this statute. They are, first, that the defendant had a specific intent to commit the crime as charged, and, second, that he did some overt act adapted and intended to effectuate that intent."  State v. Gilchrist, 25 Conn. App. 104, 110, cert. denied, 220 Conn. 905 (1991).  On substantial steps, see generally State v. Milardo, 224 Conn. 397, 403 (1993); State v. Jacques, 53 Conn. App. 507, 522 (1999); State v. Russell, 29 Conn. App. 59, 64-65, cert. denied, 224 Conn. 908 (1992).

The court may, if it so chooses, and if supported by the evidence, provide an example of what is a "substantial step."  General Statutes § 53a-49 (b) provides the following examples that, if strongly corroborative of the actor's criminal purpose, "shall not be held insufficient as a matter of law: (1) Lying in wait, searching for or following the contemplated victim of the crime; (2) enticing or seeking to entice the contemplated victim of the crime to go to the place contemplated for its commission; (3) reconnoitering the place contemplated for the commission of the crime; (4) unlawful entry of a structure, vehicle or enclosure in which it is contemplated that the crime will be committed; (5) possession of materials to be employed in the commission of the crime, which are specially designed for such unlawful use or which can serve no lawful purpose of the actor under the circumstances; (6) possession, collection or fabrication of materials to be employed in the commission of the crime, at or near the place contemplated for its commission, where such possession, collection or fabrication serves no lawful purpose of the actor under the circumstances; (7) soliciting an innocent agent to engage in conduct constituting an element of the crime." As for "following" in subsection (b) (1), the Appellate Court, in State v. Damato, 105 Conn. App. 335, 343 n.7, cert. denied, 286 Conn. 920 (2008), rejected the defendant's argument that "following" as used in this statute must be given the interpretation applied to "following" in the stalking statutes.

If the state does not indicate which of the subsections of § 53a-49 (a) it is relying on, the court may wish to clarify this before instructing the jury on attempt.  In State v. Cox, 293 Conn. 234 (2009), the court instructed on "attendant circumstances" when the evidence only supported "substantial steps."  Because the state did not object to the instruction, the conviction was reversed for insufficient evidence.  Id., 244 n.8.

 


 

Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Site Map | Website Policies and Disclaimers

Copyright © 2011, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch