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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

8.7-1  Act of Terrorism -- § 53a-300

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified June 13, 2008)

The defendant is charged [in count __] with an act of terrorism.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of an act of terrorism when such person, with intent to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or a unit of government, commits a felony involving the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force or violence.

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

Element 1 - Felony
The first element is that the defendant committed a felony involving the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force or violence.  The state alleges that the defendant committed the crime of <insert name of felony>, which is a felony.

Proof of this element will depend on your deliberations on count __.  If, under that count, you find that the defendant committed <insert name of felony>, then this element of this count will be proved.1

It must also be proved that this felony involved the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force or violence.  "Unlawful" means without legal authority.  “Physical force” and “violence” are common, readily understandable terms.  To commit an act by physical force or violence means to wrongfully use physical force against the property or person of another.  Either can be applied to any person or object by any means.  Actual harm or damage need not result.  These terms are general and unlimited in regards to the means by which either can be applied or inflicted.  As applied here the use of physical force or violence may be actual or threatened.

You must be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the felony committed by the defendant involved the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force or violence.

Element 2 - Intent
The second element is that the defendant, in committing this felony, acted with the specific intent to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or a unit of government.  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.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant committed a felony involving the unlawful use or threatened use of physical force or violence, and 2) (he/she) did so with the specific intent to intimidate or coerce the civilian population or a unit of government.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of an act of terrorism, 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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1 If the felony has not been charged in a separate count, the court will have to instruct on the elements in conjunction with this offense.

Commentary

Sentence Enhancer
Subsection (b) provides that "the court shall, in lieu of imposing the sentence authorized for the crime under section 53a-35a, impose the sentence of imprisonment authorized by said section for the next more serious degree of felony."  Public Acts, Spec. Sess., January, 2008, No. 08-1, § 11, deleted the portion that limited the enhanced sentence to when "the court is of the opinion that such person's history and character and the nature and circumstances of such person's criminal conduct indicate that an increased penalty will best serve the public interest." 
 


 

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