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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

4.5-1  Bribery of a Witness -- § 53a-149

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with bribery of a witness.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of bribery of a witness if (he/she) (offers / confers / agrees to confer) upon a witness any benefit to influence the testimony or conduct of such witness in, or in relation to, an official proceeding.

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

Element 1 - Witness in an official proceeding
The first element is that <insert name of bribery target> was a witness in an official proceeding.   A "witness" is any person summoned, or who may be summoned, to give testimony in an official proceeding.  An "official proceeding" is any proceeding held or that may be held before any legislative, judicial, administrative or other agency or official authorized to take evidence under oath, including any referee, hearing examiner, commissioner or notary or other person taking evidence in connection with any proceeding.   In this case, the state alleges that <insert name of bribery target> was to be a witness in <insert type of proceeding>. 

Element 2 - Benefit offered
The second element is that the defendant (offered / conferred / agreed to confer) upon a witness any benefit.  "Benefit" means monetary advantage, or anything regarded by the beneficiary as a monetary advantage, including a benefit to any person or entity in whose welfare the beneficiary is interested.  It makes no difference that such a witness does not accept the benefit.  The crime is committed if the defendant merely makes the offer to confer such a benefit, or even if (he/she) merely agrees to confer such benefit.  In this case, the state alleges that the benefit was <insert alleged benefit>. 

Element 3 - Intent to influence
The third element is that the (offering / conferring / agreeing to confer) a benefit was made with the specific intent to influence the testimony or the conduct of a witness in relation to the official proceedings in issue.  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.> 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) <insert name of bribery target> was a witness in an official proceeding, 2) the defendant (offered / conferred / agreed to confer) upon (him/her) a benefit, specifically <insert alleged benefit>, and 3) the defendant intended that the benefit would influence the testimony or conduct of <insert name of bribery target> in the official proceeding.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of bribery of a witness, 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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