History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

   
Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.2-3  Threatening in the Second Degree -- § 53a-62

Revised to June 12, 2009

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

a person is guilty of threatening in the second degree when <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-62 (a) (1):  that person, by physical threat, intentionally places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.

  • § 53a-62 (a) (2):  that person threatens to commit any crime of violence with the intent to terrorize another person.

  • § 53a-62 (a) (3):  that person threatens to commit any crime of violence in reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing another person.

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

Element 1 - Made a threat
The first element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-62 (a) (1):  made a physical threat to another person.  A threat is the expression of an intention to injure another person.  A physical threat is a threat accompanied by some action, such as words accompanied by a threatening gesture.  A physical threat may also occur if the defendant expresses the threat in the person's presence and has the apparent ability to carry out (his/her) threat.  Mere words are insufficient to constitute a physical threat; the defendant must also indicate by (his/her) actions an intent or an ability physically to carry out that threat.  The conduct of a person, even without words, may be sufficient to cause fear in another person.

  • § 53a-62 (a) (2) or § 53a-62 (a) (3):  threatened to commit a crime of violence. A crime of violence is one in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of violating, injuring, damaging, or abusing another person.  The state must prove that the defendant behaved in a manner that indicated (his/her) intent to commit such a crime.

A threat can only be punishable when it is a true threat, that is, a threat that a reasonable person would understand as a serious expression of an intent to harm or assault, and not as mere puffery, bluster, jest or hyperbole.  In determining whether the threat is a true threat, consider the particular factual context in which the allegedly threatening conduct occurred which could include the reaction of the person allegedly being threatened and the defendant's conduct before and after the allegedly threatening conduct.1

Element 2 - Intent
The second element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-62 (a) (1):  intended by (his/her) conduct to put that person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.  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.>  "Serious physical injury" means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.   ''Imminent'' means impending or likely to occur immediately.  It is not the danger or risk of injury, but the person's perception that is essential to this crime.  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intended to place the other person in fear of imminent and serious physical injury.

  • § 53a-62 (a) (2):  intended to terrorize another person.  To terrorize means to cause intense fear or apprehension.2  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.>

  • § 53a-62 (a) (3):  acted in reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror to another person.  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.  <See Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant threatened (another person / to commit any crime of violence), and 2) the defendant (intended to put <insert name of person> in fear of imminent serious physical injury / intended to terrorize <insert name of person> / acted  in reckless disregard of the risk of causing terror to <insert name of person>).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of threatening 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.
_______________________________________________________

1 See State v. DeLoreto, 265 Conn. 145, 154 (2003); State v. Crudup, 81 Conn. App. 248, 260, cert. denied, 268 Conn. 913 (2004).

2 State v. Dyson, 238 Conn. 784, 798-99 (1996).

Commentary

"[T]hreatening . . . requires the state to show that the defendant, by physical threat, intentionally placed or attempted to place another person in fear of imminent serious physical injury.  It is not the danger or risk of injury, but the victim's perception, which is essential to the . . . crime."  State v. Gibson, 75 Conn. App. 103, 122-23 (2003), aff'd in part, rev'd in part on other grounds, 270 Conn. 55 (2004). 

"A threat does not require immediate menace of violence or acts showing a present ability and will to execute the threat. . . .   A threat imports the expectation of bodily harm, thereby inducing fear and apprehension in the person threatened.  A threat, unlike an assault, is not limited by time or distance."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  Id., 123-24.  It is the defendant's present ability to harm the victim that amounts to "imminent."  "A threat is always an indication of probable evil to come, whether at once or at some uncertain time in the future."  State v. Snead, 41 Conn. App. 584, 593-94 (1996). 

Threatening is not a lesser included offense of attempted murder.  State v. Jacobiwitz, 182 Conn. 585, 592-93 (1981), overruled on other grounds, State v. Welch, 224 Conn. 1 (1992); State v. Palmer, 8 Conn. App. 496, cert. denied, 201 Conn. 808 (1986).  "It is not the danger or risk of injury, but the victim's perception, which is essential to [the crime of threatening]. . . . [A]ttempted murder does not require placing in fear, and it is possible to imagine an attempted murder, such as a shot from ambush, in which there has been no prior threatening act."  State v. Jacobiwitz, supra, 182 Conn. 592-93.
 


 

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