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Criminal Jury Instructions

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4.3-3  Assault of Public Safety, Emergency Medical, Health Care, or Public Transit Personnel -- § 53a-167c 

Revised to May 10, 2012 (modified May 23, 2013)

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with assault of (public safety / emergency medical / public transit/ health care) personnel. The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of assault of (public safety / emergency medical/ public transit/ health care) personnel when, with intent to prevent a reasonably identifiable <insert as appropriate:>

  • peace officer

  • special policeman

  • motor vehicle inspector

  • firefighter

  • employee of an emergency medical service organization

  • emergency room physician or nurse

  • employee of the department of correction

  • employee or member of the board of parole

  • probation officer

  • employee of the judicial branch assigned to provide pretrial secure detention and programming services to juveniles accused of the commission of a delinquent act

  • employee of the department of children and families assigned to provide direct services to children and youth in the care or custody of the department

  • employee of a municipal police department assigned to provide security at the police department's lockup and holding facility

  • active individual member of a volunteer canine search and rescue team

  • public transit employee

  • health care employee

from performing (his/her) duties, and while <insert type of officer or employee> was acting in the performance of (his/her) duties such person <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-167c (a) (1):  caused physical injury to the <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (2):  threw or hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any rock, bottle, can or other article, object or missile of any kind capable of causing physical harm, damage or injury, at <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (3):  used or caused to be used any mace, tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent against <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (4):  threw, hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any paint, dye or other like or similar staining, discoloring or coloring agent or any type of offensive or noxious liquid, agent or substance at <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (5):  threw or hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any bodily fluid including, but not limited to, urine, feces, blood or saliva at <insert type of officer>.

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

Element 1 - Assault of officer
The first element is that the person allegedly assaulted was a reasonably identifiable <insert type of officer or employee>.1  In addition, this person had to be reasonably identifiable as a <insert type of officer or employee>.  The standard is whether a reasonable person under the same circumstances should have identified the other person as a <insert type of officer or employee>.  In determining this, such facts as whether the other person wore a uniform, whether (he/she) identified (himself/herself) or showed (his/her) badge or other identification or the manner in which (he/she) acted and conducted (himself/herself) are all relevant to your decision of whether that person was reasonably identifiable as a <insert type of officer or employee>.  It is irrelevant whether the <insert type of officer or employee> was officially on duty at the time of the attempted arrest, as long as (he/she) was identifiable as a <insert type of officer or employee>.2 

Element 2 - In the performance of duties
The second element is that the conduct of the defendant occurred while the <insert type of officer or employee> was acting in the performance of (his/her) duties.  The phrase "in the performance of (his/her) official duties" means that the <insert type of officer or employee> was acting within the scope of what (he/she) is employed to do, and that (his/her) conduct was related to (his/her) official duties. The question of whether (he/she) was acting in good faith in the performance of (his/her) duties is a factual question for you to determine on the basis of the evidence in the case. <Summarize evidence if appropriate.>

<Instruct on the specific duties of the officer or employee according to the evidence presented.  If the assault occurred during an arrest3 or at a correctional institution, see element 2 of Interfering with an Officer, Instruction 4.3-1.> 

Element 3 - Intent to prevent the performance of duties
The third element is that the defendant had the specific intent to prevent the <insert type of officer> from performing (his/her) lawful duties.  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.>

Element 4 - By certain means
The fourth element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • § 53a-167c (a) (1):  caused physical injury to the <insert type of officer>.  "Physical injury" is defined as impairment of physical condition or pain.  It is not necessary that the defendant have the intent to cause physical injury.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (2):  threw or hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any rock, bottle, can or other article, object or missile of any kind capable of causing physical harm, damage or injury, at <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (3):  used or caused to be used any mace, tear gas or any like or similar deleterious agent against <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (4):  threw, hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any paint, dye or other like or similar staining, discoloring or coloring agent or any type of offensive or noxious liquid, agent or substance at <insert type of officer>.

  • § 53a-167c (a) (5):  threw or hurled, or caused to be thrown or hurled, any bodily fluid including, but not limited to, urine, feces, blood or saliva at <insert type of officer>.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant assaulted a <insert type of officer>, 2) in the performance of (his/her) duties, 3) with the intent to prevent the performance of (his/her) duties, and 4) by means of <insert means used in assault>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of assault of a (public safety / emergency medical) personnel, 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 See definitions of peace officer, firefighter, employee of an emergency medical service organization, health care employees, and public transit employee in the Glossary. A "special policeman" is appointed by the Commissioner of Emergency Services and Public Protection, pursuant to General Statutes § 29-18b, to act in the special investigation section of the Department of Revenue Services and has all the powers of a state policeman. A "volunteer canine search and rescue team" means an individual and a dog (A) appropriately trained and certified to engage in search and rescue operations by a nonprofit canine search and rescue organization that is a member of the National Association of Search and Rescue, or its successor organization, and (B) who jointly engage in such operations at the request of a police or fire department and provide services without compensation.  General Statutes § 5-249 (d).  A "motor vehicle inspector" is appointed by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, pursuant to General Statutes § 14-8, and has "the same authority to make arrests or issue citations for violation of any statute or regulation relating to motor vehicles and to enforce said statues and regulations as policemen or state policemen in their respective jurisdictions." Motor vehicle inspectors were added to this offense by Public Acts 2008, No. 08-150, § 54, effective October 1, 2008. "Public transit employees" were added to this offense by Public Acts 2009, No. 09-191, § 2, effective October 1, 2009. “Health care employees” were added to this offense by Public Acts 2011, No. 11-175, § 4, effective October 1, 2011.

2 See State v. Woolcock, 201 Conn. 605, 632 (1986); State v. Ramirez, 61 Conn. App. 865, 870-71 and 874-75 n.6, cert. denied, 256 Conn. 903 (2001).

3 See State v. Baptiste, 133 Conn. App. 614, 627-28 (2012) (reversing conviction because jury was not instructed on this aspect of the performance of a police officer's duties).

Commentary

See generally State v. Ramirez, supra, 61 Conn. App. 873-75; State v. Jenkins, 40 Conn. App. 601, 603-08, cert. denied, 237 Conn. 918 (1996); State v. Dunbar, 37 Conn. App. 338, 341-44, cert. denied, 233 Conn. 906 (1995).

"If [the officer] is acting under a good faith belief that he is carrying out [his] duty, and if his actions are reasonably designed to that end, he is acting in the performance of his duties. . . .  The phrase 'in the performance of his official duties' means that the police officer is simply acting within the scope of what [he] is employed to do.  The test is whether the [police officer] is acting within that compass or is engaging in a personal frolic of his own. . . .  The question of whether a police officer was acting in good faith in the performance of his duties is a factual question for the jury to determine on the basis of all the circumstances of the case and under appropriate instructions from the court."  (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Torwich, 38 Conn. App. 306, 315-16, cert. denied, 235 Conn. 905 (1995).  See State v. Casanova, 255 Conn. 581, 592-97 (2001) (trial court improperly prevented defendant from presenting evidence to jury on element of § 53a-167c: that the officer assaulted by the defendant had not entered defendant's home in good faith performance of his duties). 

Attempt
A person may be found guilty of attempt to assault a police officer if he or she attempts to prevent the officer from performing his or her duties, "regardless of whether one intends the consequence of injury to a police officer."  State v. Jones, 96 Conn. App. 634, 639, cert. denied, 280 Conn. 919 (2006).

Lesser included offenses
General Statutes § 53a-167c, assault of public safety, emergency medical or public transit personnel, is not a lesser included offense of assault (§ 53a-59), or assault on a correction officer (§ 53a-59b). Section § 53a-167c (a) (1) requires the intent to prevent a correction officer from performing his duty, whereas § 53a-59 or § 53a-59b requires the intent to cause physical injury to the correction officer. See State v. Nixon, 231 Conn. 545, 554 (1995).

Depending on the subsection of § 53a-167c that the defendant is charged with, interfering with an officer (§ 53a-167a) may be a lesser included offense or it may be a separate offense. See State v. Jay, 124 Conn. App. 294, 329 (2010), cert. denied, 299 Conn. 927 (2011) (hurling saliva under § 53a-167c (a) (5) is materially different from conduct that causes physical injury or includes hurling a bottle or other object, capable of causing harm, which "by their nature, necessarily obstruct, resist, hinder or endanger an officer"); State v. Porter, 76 Conn. App. 477, 485, cert. denied, 264 Conn. 910 (2003) (causing physical injury under § 53a-167c (a) (5) by its nature will also constitute obstructing, hindering, resisting or endangering that officer).


 

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