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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.4-9  Obstructing Free Passage -- § 53a-182a

Revised to December 1, 2007

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

a person is guilty of obstructing free passage when, after being warned by a law enforcement officer not to do so, (he/she) <insert appropriate subsection:>

  • § 53a-182a (a) (1):  stands, sits or lies in or upon any public street, curb, crosswalk, walkway area, mall or the portion of private property utilized for public use, so as to obstruct unreasonably the free passage of pedestrians thereon.

  • § 53a-182a (a) (2):  obstructs unreasonably or prevents free access to the entrance to any building open to the public.

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

Element 1 - Obstructed free passage
The first element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • stood, sat or lay in or upon any public street, curb, crosswalk, walkway area, mall or the portion of private property utilized for public use in such a way as to obstruct unreasonably the free passage of pedestrians on <identify area>. 

  • unreasonably obstructed or prevented free access to the entrance to <identify building>, and <identify building> is open to the public. 

"Obstruct" means to get in the way of; cut off; block. 

Element 2 - Warning
The second element is that the defendant had been warned by a law enforcement officer not to do so.  A law enforcement officer is a policeman, sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable or other officer whose duty is to enforce the laws and preserve the peace.1

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) unreasonably obstructed <insert specific allegations>, and 2) the defendant had been warned by a law enforcement officer not to do so.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of obstructing free passage, 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 Black's Law Dictionary (8th Ed. 2004).

Commentary

The statute begins with the following phrase:  "Unless a person is engaging in any activity which is expressive of rights guaranteed under the constitution of the United States or the constitution of this state . . . ."  This would likely be raised, and decided by the court, on a motion to dismiss.  It may also be raised as a defense, in which case, in the absence of appellate case law on the issue, it would presumably be a general defense that must be disproved by the state beyond a reasonable doubt.
 


 

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