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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

5.1-2  Manslaughter in the First Degree (Intentional) -- 53a-55 (a) (1)

Revised to December 1, 2007

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

a person is guilty of manslaughter in the first degree when with intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, (he/she) causes the death of such person or of 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 cause serious physical injury
The first element is that the defendant specifically intended to cause 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."  You will note that the basis of the charge under this statute is not that the defendant intended to kill, but that he intended to inflict 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.> 

The intent to cause serious physical injury may be inferred from circumstantial evidence.  <See Evidence of Intent, Instruction 2.3-2.> 

Element 2 - Caused death
The second element is that the defendant, acting with the intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, caused the death of <insert name of decedent>. 

[<If transferred intent is applicable:>   It is not necessary for a conviction of intentional manslaughter that the state prove that the defendant intended to kill the person whom (he/she) did in fact kill.  It is sufficient if the state proves that, acting with the intent to cause serious physical injury to a person, (he/she) in fact killed a person.] 

This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the decedent's death.  You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of decedent> died as a result of the actions of the defendant.  <See Proximate Cause, Instruction 2.6-1.> 

Conclusion
In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) that the defendant intended to cause serious physical injury to another person, and 2) in accordance with that intent, the defendant caused the death of <insert name of decedent>.

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