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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.3-1  Reckless Endangerment in the First Degree -- § 53a-63

Revised to December 1, 2007

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

a person is guilty of reckless endangerment in the first degree when, with extreme indifference to human life, (he/she) recklessly engages in conduct which creates a risk of serious physical injury to 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 - With extreme indifference to human life
The first element is that the defendant acted with extreme indifference to human life.  "Indifference" means simply not caring.  It means lacking any interest in a matter one way or the other.  Extreme means existing in the highest or greatest possible degree.  Extreme indifference is more than ordinary indifference.  It is synonymous with excessive and is the greatest departure from the ordinary.  What evinces an extreme indifference to human life is a question of fact.

Element 2 - Acted recklessly
The second element is that the defendant acted recklessly.  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.>

Element 3 - Created risk of serious physical injury
The third element is that the defendant's recklessness created a risk of causing serious physical injury to another person.  "Serious physical injury" is something more serious than mere physical injury, which is defined as "impairment of physical condition or pain."  It is more than a minor or superficial injury.  It is defined by statute as "physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health or serious loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ."  It is unnecessary for any person to have been injured by the defendant's conduct or for the defendant to have intended to injure or endanger any person.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant acted with extreme indifference to human life, 2) the defendant's conduct was reckless, and 3) the defendant posed a risk of causing serious physical injury to another person.

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


 

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