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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.11-5  Abandoning a Child under 6 Years of Age -- § 53-23

Revised to December 1, 2007

The defendant is charged [in count __] with abandoning a child under the age of six years.  The statute defining this offense imposes punishment on any person having the charge of any child under the age of six years who exposes such child in any place, with intent wholly to abandon such child.

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

Element 1 - Charge of child
The first element is that the defendant had charge of a child.  To "have charge" means to have care, custody, or supervision of the child, to have an obligation or responsibility to the child, or to have been a person entrusted with the child's care or management.

Element 2 - Child under 6 years of age
The second element is that child was under the age of six years.  This means that the child had not yet had (his/her) sixth birthday.

Element 3 - Abandonment
The third element is that the defendant exposed the child with the intent of wholly abandoning the child.  To "expose" in this context means to take away food, shelter and protection.  To "abandon" means to withdraw one's support or help from another in spite of a duty, allegiance, or responsibility.  "Wholly" means completely.  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.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant had charge of a child, 2) the child was under six years of age, and 3) the defendant exposed the child with the intent of wholly abandoning the child.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of abandoning a child under six years of age, 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.

Commentary

Subsection (b) of the statute provides the following exception to culpability:  "The act of a parent or lawful agent of a parent leaving an infant thirty days or younger with a designated employee pursuant to Section 17a-58 shall not constitute a violation of this section."  A "designated employee" as set out in Section 17a-58 and defined in Section 17a-57 means emergency room nursing staff designated to take physical custody of an infant voluntarily surrendered by a parent or agent.  "Where exceptions to a prohibition in a criminal statute are situated separately from the enacting clause, the exceptions are to be proven by the defense."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Valinski, 254 Conn. 107, 123 (2000) (rule also applies when the exception is found in a separate statute).
 


 

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