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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.7-6  Harassment in the Second Degree (Written Communication) -- 53a-183(a)(2)

Revised November 6, 2014

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

a person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, (he/she) communicates with a person by (telegraph / mail / electronically transmitting a facsimile through connection with a telephone network / computer network / any other form of written communication) in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm.

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

Element 1 - Intent
The first element is that the defendant intended to harass, annoy or alarm 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.>

"Harass" means to trouble, worry or torment.  "Annoy" means to irritate, vex, bother, as by repeated action.  "Alarm" means to make suddenly afraid, anxious, or frightened.

Element 2 - Written communication
<If the allegations rely on the content of the communication:>1

The second element is that the defendant sent a written communication in which (he/she) made a threat to commit an act of violence.  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. <Describe specific allegations.>

<If the allegations rely on the sending of the communication:>
The second element is that the defendant sent a written communication to <insert name of person> in a manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm. Written communications include telegrams, letters, faxes, and email. <Describe specific allegations.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant intended to harass, annoy or alarm <insert name of person>, and 2) by means of <insert type of written communication> (he/she) communicated with <insert name of person> in a manner that was likely to cause annoyance or alarm.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of harassment in the second 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 provisions of harassment by telephone and by writing are identical "in all material respects" so "the scope of the two statutory subdivisions with respect to speech also is identical."  State v. Moulton, 310 Conn. 337, 355-56 (2014).  Moulton held that if the allegations rely on the content of the communication, the content must qualify as a true threat.


 

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