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Criminal Jury Instructions

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6.7-3  Stalking in the Third Degree -- § 53a-181e

Revised to June 12, 2009

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

a person is guilty of stalking in the third degree when (he/she) recklessly causes another person to reasonably fear for (his/her) physical safety by wilfully and repeatedly following or lying in wait for such other person.

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

Element 1 - Recklessly caused fear
The first element is that the defendant recklessly caused <insert name of person> to reasonably fear for (his/her) physical safety.  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.>

"Fear for (his/her) physical safety" means that (he/she) feared that bodily harm could come to (him/her).  Determining whether this element is satisfied requires a two step process.  First, the situation and the facts must be viewed from the viewpoint of <insert name of person>.  Did (he/she) in fact fear for (his/her) physical safety?  If the answer to that question is no, you must find the defendant not guilty.  If the answer to that question is yes, you must then ask whether that fear was reasonable.  You must answer that question from the viewpoint of a reasonable person under the circumstances at the time.  You must ask yourself whether under all the circumstances then present, was the fear reasonable?1

Element 2 - Followed or lay in wait
The second element is that the defendant (followed / lay in wait for) <insert name of person>. <Insert as appropriate:>

●          The following must have a predatory feel to it. The statute does not encompass following that is aimless, unintentional, accidental or undertaken for a lawful purpose.  Following implies proximity in space as well as time.  Whether someone has deliberately maintained sufficient visual or physical proximity with another person, uninterrupted, over a substantial enough period of time to constitute "following" will depend upon a variety of differing factors in each case.2

●          In the context of stalking, “laying in wait” means waiting in a place where another person is likely to be or to pass by.3

Element 3 - Wilfullness
The third element is that the defendant acted wilfully.  To act "wilfully" means to act intentionally or deliberately.

Element 4 - Repeatedly
The fourth element is that the defendant acted repeatedly.  Acting "repeatedly" means acting on more than one occasion.  An isolated act of following or lying in wait cannot constitute stalking.4

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant recklessly caused <insert name of person> to fear for (his/her) safety, 2) the defendant followed or lay in wait for <insert name of person>, 3) the defendant acted wilfully, and 4) the defendant acted repeatedly.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of stalking in the third 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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1 State v. Cummings, 46 Conn. App. 661, 678 n.12, cert. denied, 243 Conn. 940 (1997).

2 State v. Marsala, 44 Conn. App. 84, 98, cert. denied, 240 Conn. 912 (1997); see also State v. Jackson, 56 Conn. App. 264, 272, cert. denied, 242 Conn. 938 (2000).

3 For a discussion of the traditional legal definition of “lying in wait,” see State v. Culmo, 43 Conn. Sup. 46, 63-64 (1993).  The committee thought that this definition, with its emphasis on concealment and surprise, was not applicable to the behavior that the stalking statute addresses.

4 State v. Jackson, 56 Conn. App. 264, 273, cert. denied, 242 Conn. 938 (2000); State v. Cummings, supra, 46 Conn. App. 679 n.13; see also State v. Russell, 101 Conn. App. 298, 317-18, cert. denied, 284 Conn. 910 (2007) (there is no time limitation on the time that may have elapsed between the acts).
 


 

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