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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.1-5  Assault in the First Degree (Discharge of a Firearm) -- 53a-59 (a) (5)

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified May 23, 2013)

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with assault in the first degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of assault in the first degree when with intent to cause physical injury to another person, (he/she) causes such injury to such person or to a third person by means of the discharge of a firearm.

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

Element 1 - Intent to cause physical injury
The first element is that the defendant intended to cause physical injury to another person.  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.>

"Physical injury" is defined as impairment of physical condition or pain.  It is a reduced ability to act as one would otherwise have acted.  The law does not require that the injury be serious.  It may be minor. 

Element 2 - Caused physical injury
The second element is that, acting with that intent, the defendant caused physical injury to another person.  This means that the defendant's conduct was the proximate cause of <insert name of person injured>'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.>

[<If person injured was not the person intended:>  It does not matter whether <insert name of person injured> was the person upon whom the defendant intended to inflict physical injury.  It is sufficient if you find that the defendant intended to cause physical injury to another person and that (he/she) in fact caused physical injury to that person or to some other person.] 

Element 3 - By discharge of a firearm
The third element is that the defendant caused the physical injury by means of the discharge of a firearm. "Firearm" means any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged.1

It is not enough that the defendant was armed with a firearm or threatened to use a firearm.  The defendant must have actually discharged the firearm. 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant had the specific intent to cause physical injury to <insert name of person injured>, 2) the defendant did cause physical injury to <insert name of person injured>, and 3) the defendant caused the injury by means of the discharge of a  firearm. 

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of assault in the first 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.
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1 See definitions for machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol or revolver in the glossary.

Commentary

Sentence Enhancer
Section 53a-59 (b) provides an enhanced penalty if the victim is either under 10 years of age or a witness if the defendant knew the victim was a witness.  The jury must find this fact proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  See Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4.
 


 

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