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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1-8  Assault in the Second Degree (Reckless with a Deadly Weapon) -- § 53a-60 (a) (3)

Revised to April 23, 2010

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with assault in the second degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of assault in the second degree when (he/she) recklessly causes serious physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.

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

Element 1 - Recklessness
The first element is that the defendant acted recklessly.  A person acts "recklessly" with respect to a result or circumstances when (he/she) is aware of and consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstances exist.  <Insert Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>

Element 2 - Caused serious physical injury
The second element is that the defendant caused serious physical injury.  This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the person's injuries.  You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of person injured> was injured as a result of the actions of the defendant.  <See Proximate Cause, Instruction 2.6-1.>

"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."

Element 3 - Deadly weapon or dangerous instrument
The third element is that the defendant used a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument in causing the serious physical injury to another.  <Insert the appropriate definition:> 

  • "Deadly weapon" means any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.  If the weapon is a firearm, it may be unloaded, but it must be in such condition that a shot may be discharged from it.  Thus, if the weapon is loaded but not in working order, it is not a deadly weapon.  If the weapon is unloaded but in working order, it is a deadly weapon.

  • "Dangerous instrument" means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury.  "Serious physical injury" means 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. It is important to note that the article need not be inherently dangerous; all that is required is that the article was capable of causing death or serious physical injury under the circumstances in which it was used.  Any article or substance, without limitation and even though harmless under normal use, may be found by you to be a dangerous instrument if, under the circumstances of its use or threatened or attempted use, it is capable of producing serious physical injury or death.  The state need not prove that in fact death or serious physical injury resulted, only that the instrument had that potential under the circumstances.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant acted recklessly, 2) the defendant caused serious physical injury to <insert name of person injured>, and 3) the defendant caused the injury by means of a (deadly weapon / dangerous instrument).   

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of assault in the second degree, 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 any of the elements, you shall then find the defendant not guilty.
 


 

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