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Criminal Jury Instructions

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6.2-2  Threatening in the First Degree (Reckless) -- § 53a-61aa (a) (1) (B) and (a) (2) (B)

Revised to June 12, 2009

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

a person is guilty of threatening in the first degree when such person threatens to commit <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-61aa (a) (1) (B):  any crime involving the use of a hazardous substance

  • § 53a-61aa (a) (2) (B):  any crime of violence

in reckless disregard of the risk of <insert as appropriate:>

  • terrorizing another person.1

  • ausing evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation.

  • causing serious public inconvenience.

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

Element 1 - Threatened to commit a crime
The first element is that the defendant threatened to commit (any crime involving the use of a hazardous substance / any crime of violence). <Insert appropriate definition:>

  • A hazardous substance is any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substance or matter which, because of its quantity, concentration or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, may cause or significantly contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness, or pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health. 

  • A crime of violence is one in which physical force is exerted for the purpose of violating, injuring, damaging, or abusing person or property.

A threat can only be punishable when it is a true threat, that is, a threat that a reasonable person would understand as a serious expression of an intent to harm or assault, and not as mere puffery, bluster, jest or hyperbole.  In determining whether the threat is a true threat, consider the particular factual context in which the allegedly threatening conduct occurred which could include the reaction of the person allegedly being threatened and the defendant's conduct before and after the allegedly threatening conduct.2

Element 2 - Recklessness
The second element is that the defendant acted in reckless disregard of the risk that this threat would (terrorize another person / cause evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation / cause serious public inconvenience).  [To terrorize means to cause intense fear or apprehension.3
]

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.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant threatened to commit (any crime involving the use of a hazardous substance / any crime of violence), and 2) (he/she) acted with reckless disregard of the risk of (terrorizing another person / causing evacuation of a building, place of assembly or facility of public transportation / causing serious public inconvenience).

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of threatening 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 The element "to terrorize another person" is only applicable when the crime threatened is one involving the use of a hazardous substance. 

2 See State v. DeLoreto, 265 Conn. 145, 154 (2003); State v. Crudup, 81 Conn. App. 248, 260, cert. denied, 268 Conn. 913 (2004).

3 State v. Dyson, 238 Conn. 784, 798-99 (1996).
 


 

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