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Criminal Jury Instructions

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8.4-1  Breach of the Peace in the First Degree -- § 53a-180aa

Revised to December 1, 2007

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

a person is guilty of breach of the peace in the first degree when, with intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person places (a nonfunctional imitation of an explosive or incendiary device / an imitation of a hazardous substance) in a public place or in a place or manner likely to be discovered by another person.

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

Element 1 - Intent/Recklessness
The first element is that the defendant

  • acted with the intent to cause inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  The predominant intent must be to cause what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

  • recklessly created a risk of causing inconvenience, annoyance or alarm.  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.>

The words "inconvenience, annoyance or alarm" refer to what a reasonable person operating under contemporary community standards would consider a disturbance to or impediment of a lawful activity, a deep feeling of vexation or provocation, or a feeling of anxiety prompted by threatened danger or harm.1 

Element 2 - Imitation Explosive / Incendiary device / Hazardous substance

The second element is that the defendant placed a (nonfunctional imitation of an explosive or incendiary device / an imitation of a hazardous substance) in a public place or in a place or manner likely to be discovered by another person."  <Insert appropriate definition:>

  • "Explosive or incendiary device" means (A) dynamite and all other forms of high explosives, (B) any explosive bomb, grenade, missile or similar device, and (C) any incendiary bomb or grenade, fire bomb or similar device, including any device which (i) consists of or includes a breakable container which contains a flammable liquid or compound and a wick composed of any material which, when ignited, is capable of igniting such flammable liquid or compound, and (ii) can be carried or thrown by an individual.  You do not need to find that the item was such a device.  It need only appear to be one.

  • "Hazardous substance" means 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.2  You do not need to find that the substance was hazardous.  It need only appear to be so.

Element 3 - Public place
The third element is that the (device / substance) must have been placed in a public place or in a place or manner likely to be discovered by another person.  "Public place" means any area that is used or held out for use by the public whether owned or operated by public or private interests.3  

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant 1) (intended to cause / recklessly created a risk of causing) public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, 2) (he/she) did so by placing an imitation <identify type of device or substance>, and 3) it was placed in a public place or in a place or manner likely to be discovered by another person.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of breach of peace 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.
_______________________________________________________

1 The Supreme Court applied this interpretive gloss to the mens rea language of the disorderly conduct statute in State v. Indrisano, 228 Conn. 795, 810-811 (1994).  In State v. Wolff, 237 Conn. 633, 670 (1996), the Court applied it to the breach of peace statute.  See the discussion of intent in the Introduction to this section.

2 Defined in § 53a-180aa (b).

3 Id.
 


 

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