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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.4-8  Disorderly Conduct -- § 53a-182

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note:  This instruction encompasses all 7 subsections of the statute, which describe different types of conduct that could rise to the level of being "disorderly" and punishable under this statute.  Because of the possibility that conduct falling within any of these subsections could be constitutionally protected, the instruction must carefully delineate the allegations and the evidence that make up the punishable offense.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with disorderly conduct.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows:

a person is guilty of disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person:  <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-182 (a) (1):  engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (2):  by offensive or disorderly conduct, annoys or interferes with another person.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (3):  makes unreasonable noise.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (4):  without lawful authority, disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (5):  obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (6):  congregates with other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a reasonable official request or order to disperse.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (7):  commits simple trespass and observes, in other than a casual or cursory manner, another person (A) without the knowledge of consent of such other person, (B) while such other person is inside a dwelling and not in plain view, and (C) under circumstances where such other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

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

Element 1 - Intent
The first element is that the defendant

  • acted with the intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  The predominant intent must be to cause what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

  • recklessly created a risk of causing inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  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.>

The words "inconvenience, annoyance or alarm" refer to what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.1 

Element 2 - Conduct
The second element is that <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-182 (a) (1):  the defendant engaged in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior of a physical nature.2

  • § 53a-182 (a) (2):  by offensive or disorderly conduct, the defendant annoyed or interfered with another person.  "Offensive or disorderly conduct" refers to conduct that is grossly offensive, under contemporary community standards, to a person who actually overhears it or sees it.  "Annoys or interferes" refers to conduct that disturbs or impedes the lawful activity of another person.3

  • § 53a-182 (a) (3):  the defendant made unreasonable noise.  The noise made must be unreasonable given the time, place and circumstances.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (4):  the defendant, without lawful authority, disturbed any lawful assembly or meeting of persons. The defendant must have disturbed or disrupted a lawful meeting of persons by shouts or other conduct.  The defendant's conduct must be more than bad manners.  The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had no lawful authority to engage in the alleged conduct and further that such conduct occurred at a lawful assembly or meeting of persons.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (5):  the defendant obstructed vehicular or pedestrian traffic.  "Obstruct" means to get in the way of; to cut off; to block.  [<Insert if applicable:>  Persons who carry placards or distribute pamphlets or disseminate information along a public street may not be prosecuted under this section unless it is their intention to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or to recklessly create a risk thereof by obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.]

  • § 53a-182 (a) (6):  the defendant congregated with other persons in a public place and refused to comply with a reasonable official request or order to disperse.  The alleged conduct must have occurred in a public place, that is, a place used by or held out for use by the public.

  • § 53a-182 (a) (7):  the defendant committed simple trespass, and observed, in other than a casual or cursory manner, another person without the knowledge or consent of that other person, while that other person had a reasonable expectation of privacy.  A person is guilty of simple trespass when, knowing one is not licensed or privileged to do so, (he/she) enters any premises without intent to harm any property.  A person has a reasonable expectation of privacy when (he/she) has shown a subjective expectation of privacy with respect to the dwelling and the expectation is one that society considers reasonable.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) (intended to cause / recklessly created a risk of causing) inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, and 2) <describe conduct>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of disorderly conduct, 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 Supreme Court applied this interpretive gloss to the mens rea language of the disorderly conduct statute in State v. Indrisano, 228 Conn. 795, 810-811 (1994).  See the discussion of intent in the Introduction to this section.

2 State v. Indrisano, supra, 228 Conn. 812, interpreted the phrase "violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior" to require physical conduct.  See also State v. LoSacco, 12 Conn. App. 481, 491, cert. denied, 205 Conn. 814 (1983) (statute limited to conduct that actually involves physical violence or portends imminent physical violence).  "Indrisano avoided first amendment difficulties that would criminalize mere verbal speech by clarifying that a conviction under § 53a-182 must be based on a defendant's conduct rather than on a defendant's statements."  State v. McKiernan, 78 Conn. App. 182, 188, cert. denied, 266 Conn. 902 (2003). 

3 See State v. Indrisano, supra, 228 Conn. 819; State v. Musumano, 76 Conn. App. 724 (2003) (court reversed for not including Indrisano gloss that "offensive and disorderly conduct" is that which is "grossly offensive, under contemporary community standards, to a person who actually overhears it or sees it").

Commentary

Lesser included offenses
Disorderly conduct is not a lesser included offense of assault in the second degree.  State v. Stavrakis, 88 Conn. App. 371, 389, cert. denied, 273 Conn. 939 (2005).

Disorderly conduct can be a lesser included offense of breach of peace in the second degree, General Statutes § 53a-181 (a) (1).  The only difference is that breach of peace requires that the violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior be in a public place.  State v. Simmons, 86 Conn. App. 381, 391-92 (2004), cert. denied, 273 Conn. 923, cert. denied, 546 U.S. 822, 126 S.Ct. 356, 163 L.Ed.2d 64 (2005).
 


 

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