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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.7-5  Harassment in the Second Degree (Obscenity) -- § 53a-183 (a) (1)

Revised to December 1, 2007

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 by telephone, (he/she) addresses another in or uses indecent or obscene language.

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

Element 1 - Telephone call
The first element is that the defendant made a telephone call to <insert name of person>.

Element 2 – Obscene or indecent language
The second element is that the defendant addressed <insert name of person> in or used indecent or obscene language.

The word "indecent" is defined as "morally offensive, unseemly."  The test is whether the defendant's words, under contemporary community standards, were so grossly indecent to the person addressed as to amount to a serious annoyance.

The word "obscene" is defined as "offensive to modesty or decency; lewd."  To be found obscene, the defendant's words must, under contemporary community standards, be so grossly obscene to the person to whom the language is addressed as to amount to a serious annoyance.  The defendant's words must be, in a significant way, erotic and must appeal to prurient interest in sex or portray sex in a patently offensive way.

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant made a telephone call to <insert name of person>, and 2) addressed <insert name of person> in or used indecent or obscene language.

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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