History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

   
Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.11-1  Risk of Injury to a Minor (Situation Prong) -- § 53-21 (a) (1)

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with risk of injury to a minor.  The statute defining this offense imposes punishment on any person who wilfully or unlawfully causes or permits any child under the age of sixteen years to be placed in such a situation that the (life or limb of such child is endangered / the health of such child is likely to be injured / the morals of such child are likely to be impaired).1

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

Element 1 - Placed minor in a situation
The first element is that the defendant wilfully or unlawfully caused or permitted a minor child to be placed in a situation inimical to the child's (moral / physical) welfare.  The statute requires wilfulness or unlawfulness in causing or permitting the child to be placed in such a situation.  This means that the conduct of the person is deliberately indifferent to, acquiesces in, or creates a situation inimical to the child's (moral / physical) welfare.

"Wilfully" means intentionally or deliberately.2  "Unlawfully" means without legal right or justification.  Causing or permitting a situation to arise within the meaning of this statute requires conduct on the part of the defendant that brings about or permits the situation to arise when the defendant had such control or right of control over the child that the defendant might have reasonably prevented it.

Element 2 - Risk to minor
The second element is that the situation (endangered the child's life or limb / was likely to injure (his/her) health3 / was likely to impair (his/her) morals).  [As used here, "morals" means living, acting and thinking in accordance with those principles and precepts that are commonly accepted among us as right and decent.4]

I want to stress that the state does NOT have to prove that the defendant actually did (physically injure / injure the health of / impair the morals of) the child.  Rather, the state must show only that the defendant's behavior was LIKELY to have done so.  "Likely" means in all probability.5  Thus, the state must show that it was probable that the conduct of the defendant would (physically injure / injure the health of / impair the morals of) the child.  There is no requirement that the state prove actual harm to the child.

[<Insert if appropriate:>6  The defendant need not have had the specific intent to (physically injure / injure the health of / impair the morals of) the child, only the general intent to do the act that resulted in placing the child in the situation.  <See Intent: General, Instruction 2.3-1.>]

Element 3 - Minor under 16 years of age
The third element is that at the time of the incident, the minor child was under the age of sixteen years.  This means that the child had not yet had (his/her) sixteenth birthday.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant wilfully or unlawfully caused or permitted the minor to be placed in a situation, 2) the situation (endangered (his/her) life or limb / was likely to injure (his/her) health / was likely to impair (his/her) morals), and 3) the minor was under 16 years of age at the time.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of risk of injury to a minor, 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.
_____________________________________________________________

1 The court should instruct the jury on only the type or types of injuries alleged and supported by the evidence.  State v. Burton, 258 Conn. 153, 162-63 (2001) (trial court improperly read entire statute).

2 "Under the situation portion of § 53-21 (1), wilful means doing a forbidden act purposefully in violation of the law." (Emphasis in original; internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Padua, 273 Conn. 138, 161 (2005).

3 "Health" under this portion of the statute includes mental health.  State v. Payne, 240 Conn. 766, 772 (1997).

4 See State v. Payne, 240 Conn. 766, 782-83 (1997) (not improper to instruct jury to apply community standards).

5 See State v. Romero, 269 Conn. 481, 492 (2004).

6 See State v. Pierson, 201 Conn. 211, 217 (1986) (instruction need not include principle of general intent unless evidence suggests that the defendant's conduct was involuntary).
 


 

Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Site Map | Website Policies and Disclaimers

Copyright © 2011, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch