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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

2.3-5  Criminal Negligence -- § 53a-3 (14)

Revised to December 1, 2007

A person acts with "criminal negligence" with respect to a result or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when (he/she) fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk that such result will occur or that such circumstance exists.  The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.

The failure to perceive the risk must be a gross deviation from the standard of a reasonable person.  The standard of conduct of a reasonable person in the same situation as the defendant is the doing of something that a reasonably prudent person would do under the circumstances or omitting to do what a reasonably prudent person would not do under the circumstances.

A gross deviation is a great or substantial deviation, not just a slight or moderate deviation.  There must be a great or substantial difference between, on the one hand, the defendant's conduct in failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk, and, on the other hand, what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances.  Whether the risk is substantial and unjustifiable is a question of fact for you to determine under the circumstances.

Commentary

See  State v. McMahon, 257 Conn. 544, 568 (2001), cert. denied, 534 U.S. 1130, 122 S.Ct. 1069, 151 L.Ed.2d 972 (2002) (explaining the difference between recklessness and criminal negligence); State v. Ortiz, 29 Conn. App. 825, 833 (1993) (criminal negligence requires more than the civil standard of negligence); State v. Bunker, 27 Conn. App. 322, 329 (1992) (the term "gross deviation" has its ordinary meaning).
 


 

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