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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1-2 Assault in the First Degree (Maiming) -- § 53a-59 (a) (2)

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified June 13, 2008)

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

a person is guilty of assault in the first degree when with intent to (disfigure another person seriously and permanently / to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of (his/her) body), (he/she) causes such injury to such person or to a third person.

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

Element 1 - Intent to disfigure or disable
The first element is that the defendant specifically intended <insert as appropriate:>

  • to disfigure another person seriously and permanently. To "disfigure" is to mar, deform or deface. A serious and permanent disfigurement is one that is not minor or superficial and which will be permanent.

  • to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of another person's body.

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.> 

Element 2 - Caused disfigurement or disablement
The second element is that the defendant, acting with that intent, (disfigured another person seriously and permanently / destroyed, amputated or permanently disabled a member or organ of another person's body). This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of <insert name of person injured>'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.>

[<If person injured was not the person intended:> It does not matter whether <insert name of person injured> was the person whom the defendant intended to (disfigure / disable). It is sufficient if you find that the defendant intended to (disfigure / disable) another person and that (he/she) in fact did (disfigure / disable) that person or some other person.] 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant had the specific intent to (disfigure <insert name of person injured> seriously and permanently / destroy, amputate or permanently disable a member or organ of <insert name of person injured>'s body), and 2) the defendant did (disfigure <insert name of person injured> seriously and permanently / destroy, amputate or permanently disable a member or organ of <insert name of person injured>'s body).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of assault in the first 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.

Commentary

"Although this statute describes two types of specific intent, i.e., to disfigure seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of the body, it is a single crime that is completed by causing an injury consistent with either specified intent." State v. Woods, 25 Conn. App. 275, 280, cert. denied, 220 Conn. 923 (1991) (distinguishing this subsection from the common-law forms of mayhem and malicious disfigurement). A fetus is a "member" of the mother's body for purposes of § 53a-59 (a) (2) and § 53a-70a (a) (2). State v. Sandoval, 263 Conn. 524, 553 (2003).

The injuries described in this subsection are to be distinguished from "serious physical injury" because they must be permanent, whereas "serious physical injury" need not be. State v. Denson, 67 Conn. App. 803, 810-11, cert. denied, 260 Conn. 915 (2002). A scar on the victim's face, though minimal, constitutes serious, permanent disfigurement. State v. Anderson, 74 Conn. App. 633, 644, cert. denied, 263 Conn. 901 (2003).

A person may be convicted of attempt under this subsection if the person injured suffered only minor injuries, as long as the evidence supports the conclusion that the defendant acted with the intent to do serious and permanent bodily harm. State v. Griffin, 78 Conn. App. 646, 653-56 (2003). "Although it is true that intent may be gleaned from circumstantial evidence, including the type of wound inflicted, that is not the only basis from which the trier of fact may infer intent." Id., 654.

Sentence Enhancer
Section 53a-59 (b) provides an enhanced penalty if the victim is either under 10 years of age or a witness if the defendant knew the victim was a witness. The jury must find this fact proved beyond a reasonable doubt. See Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4.
 


 

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