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Criminal Jury Instructions

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4.5-11  Hindering Prosecution in the Second or Third Degree -- § 53a-165, § 53a-166, § 53a-167

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note:  General Statutes § 53a-165 defines the offense of hindering prosecution.  The degree of the offense depends on the classification of the underlying crime.  See § 53a-166 (second degree: class A or B felony or an unclassified felony for which maximum penalty is imprisonment for more than 10 years); § 53a-167 (third degree: class C or D felony or an unclassified felony for which maximum penalty of imprisonment is less than 10 years but more than one year).

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with hindering prosecution in the (second / third) degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows:

a person is guilty of hindering prosecution in the (second / third) degree when such person renders criminal assistance to another person who has committed <select appropriate degree:>

  • Second degree:  a class A or class B felony or an unclassified felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for more than ten years.

  • Third degree:  a class C or class D felony or an unclassified felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for ten years or less but more than one year.

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

Element 1 - Criminal assistance
The first element is that the defendant rendered criminal assistance.  A person "renders criminal assistance"1 when, with intent to prevent, hinder or delay the discovery or apprehension of, or the lodging of a criminal charge against, a person whom (he/she) knows or believes has committed a felony or is being sought by law enforcement officials for the commission of a felony, or with intent to assist a person in profiting or benefiting from the commission of a felony, (he/she) <insert as appropriate:>

  • harbors or conceals such person.  To "harbor" means to provide a place of protection to.

  • warns such person of impending discovery or apprehension.

  • provides such person with money, transportation, weapon, disguise or other means of avoiding discovery or apprehension.

  • prevents or obstructs, by means of force, intimidation or deception, anyone from performing an act which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a criminal charge against (him/her).

  • suppresses, by an act of concealment, alteration or destruction, any physical evidence which might aid in the discovery or apprehension of such person or in the lodging of a criminal charge against (him/her).

  • aids such person to protect or expeditiously profit from an advantage derived from such crime.

Element 2- Third party felony
The second element is that (he/she) rendered criminal assistance to a person who committed <insert as appropriate:>

  • a class A or class B felony or an unclassified felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for more than ten years.

  • a class C or class D felony or an unclassified felony for which the maximum penalty is imprisonment for ten years or less but more than one year.

According to the law, <insert offense> is a <insert classification of offense>.  The elements of <insert crime> are as follows:  <see instruction on offense>.

Please bear in mind, however, that although the person to whom the defendant rendered assistance must have actually committed <insert offense>, (he/she) need not have been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of the offense.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant rendered criminal assistance to <insert name of third party>, and 2) <insert name of third party> committed <insert offense allegedly committed by third party>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of hindering prosecution in the (second / 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 General Statutes § 53a-165.

Commentary

It is error to instruct the jury as a fact that the underlying crime was committed.  The state must prove that the person to whom assistance was rendered actually committed the crime, either through a certificate of conviction or through independent evidence.  State v. Rodriguez, 7 Conn. App. 470, 472 (1986).

 


 

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