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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.9-1  Abuse of an Elderly, Blind, Physically Disabled or Intellectually Disabled Person -- § 53a-321, § 53a-322, and § 53a-323

Revised to May 10, 2012

Note:  The degree of the offense depends on the defendant's intent and the resulting injury.  See the table in the commentary.

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

a person1 is guilty of abuse in the (first / second / third) degree when such person (intentionally / knowingly / recklessly) commits abuse of (a/an) (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled2) person and causes (serious physical injury / physical injury) to such (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) 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
The first element is that the defendant acted: <insert applicable intent depending upon the degree of the offense charged:>

  • First degree:  intentionally.  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.>

  • Second degree:  knowingly.  A person acts "knowingly" with respect to conduct or to a circumstance when (he/she) is aware that (his/her) conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance exists.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

  • Third degree:  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.  The risk must be of such nature and degree that disregarding it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.  <See Recklessness, Instruction 2.3-4.>

Element 2 - Abuse
The second element is that the defendant committed abuse of  (a/an) (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person.  "Abuse" means any repeated act or omission that causes physical injury or serious physical injury to (a/an) (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person, except when (A) the act or omission is a part of the treatment or care, and in furtherance of the health and safety of the (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person, or (B) the act or omission is based upon the instructions, wishes, consent, refusal to consent, or revocation of consent of a[n] (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person, or the legal representative of an incapable (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person.  "Repeated" means an act or omission that occurs on two or more occasions.

<Insert appropriate definition:>

  • An "elderly person" means any person who is sixty years of age or older.

  • A "blind person" means any individual whose central vision acuity does not exceed 20/200 in the better eye with correcting lenses, or if (his/her) visual acuity is greater than 20/200 but is accompanied by a limitation in the fields of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends to an angle no greater than twenty degrees.

  • A "disabled person" means any individual who has any chronic physical handicap, infirmity or impairment, whether congenital or resulting from bodily injury, organic processes or changes from illness, including, but not limited to, epilepsy, deafness or hearing impairment or reliance on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.

  • An “intellectually disabled person” means any individual who has a significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning existing at the same time as deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period.

Element 3 - Resulting injury
The third element is that by that abuse, the defendant caused (serious physical injury / physical injury)3 to <insert name of person injured>.  <Insert appropriate definition:>>

  • "Serious physical injury" means 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.

  • "Physical injury" means impairment of physical condition or pain.

This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of the person's injuries.  You must find it proved beyond a reasonable doubt that <insert name of person injured> was injured 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) the defendant acted (intentionally / knowingly / recklessly), 2) the defendant committed abuse of <insert name of person>, who was at the time (a/an) (elderly / blind / physically disabled / intellectually disabled) person, and 3) as the result of that abuse, the defendant caused (serious physical injury / physical injury) to <insert name of person>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of abuse of a[n] (elderly / blind / disabled / mentally retarded) person in the (first / 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.
_______________________________________________________

1 The statutory definition of "person" in General Statutes § 53a-320 refers to the defendant and means any natural person, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, unincorporated business or other business entity.

2 Public Acts 2011, No. 11-129, § 1, replaced the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability," effective October 1, 2011.

3 See table below.

Commentary

The following table shows the intent and result elements of the three degrees of this offense: 

Statute / Degree

Intent

Result

§ 53a-321 - First degree

Specific intent

Serious physical injury

§ 53a-322 (a) (1) - Second degree

Specific intent

Physical injury

§ 53a-322 (a) (2) - Second degree

Knowingly

Serious physical injury

§ 53a-323 (a) (1) - Third degree

Knowingly

Physical injury

§ 53a-323 (a) (2) - Third degree

Recklessly

Physical injury


 


 

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