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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

6.7-2  Stalking in the Second Degree -- § 53a-181d

Revised to November 6, 2014

Note: This instruction is for crimes committed on or after October 1, 2012.  Public Act No. 12-114, § 12, substantially revised the definition of the offense.  For crimes committed before October 1, 2012, see Instruction 6.7-2A in the Archive.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with stalking in the second degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of stalking in the second degree when such person knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for such person's physical safety or the physical safety of a third person.

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

Element 1 - Knowingly
The first element is that the defendant acted "knowingly."  A person acts "knowingly" with respect to a circumstance described in a statute when (he/she) is aware that such circumstance exists. <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.>

Element 2 - Course of Conduct
The second element is that the defendant engaged in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, <insert name of person>. "Course of conduct" means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a person directly, indirectly or through a third party, by any action, method, device or means, <insert as appropriate based on the allegations:>

  • (follows / lies in wait for / monitors / observes / surveils / threatens / harasses /    communicates with / sends unwanted gifts to a person)
  • interferes with a person's property.

The defendant may do any one of these more than once or in combination.  For example, follow two or more times or follow once and send an unwanted gift once.
 
<Insert definitions as appropriate:>

  • To "follow" means to go, proceed or come after, to move behind in the same direction.  Following implies proximity in space and time.  Whether someone has deliberately maintained sufficient visual or physical proximity with another person, uninterrupted, over a substantial enough period of time to constitute following will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case.1 
  •  To "lie in wait for" means to wait in a place where another person is likely to be or to pass by.2
  • To "monitor" means to watch closely for purposes of control, surveillance, to keep track of or to check continually.
  •  To "surveil" means to place under surveillance, the act of carefully watching someone.
  •  To "observe" means to see, watch, perceive or notice.

These actions must be of a predatory nature. The statute does not encompass conduct that is aimless, unintentional, accidental or undertaken for a lawful purpose.

  • To "threaten" means to utter a threat that a reasonable person would understand as a serious expression of intent to harm or damage and is not mere puffery, bluster, jest or hyperbole.  In determining whether the threat is a true threat, consider the factual context in which the alleged threat occurred including the reaction of the person to whom the threat was directed and the defendant's conduct before and after the alleged threat.
  •  To "harass" means to disturb persistently, bother continuously, pester or torment.
  •  To "communicate" means to express thoughts, feelings or information by writing or speaking.
Element 3 - Caused fear
The third element is that the defendant caused <insert name of person> to reasonably fear for (his/her) physical safety or the physical safety of a third person.  Determining whether this element is satisfied requires a two step process.  First, the situation and the facts must be viewed from the viewpoint of <insert name of person>. Did (he/she) in fact fear for (his/her) physical safety?  If the answer to that question is no, you must find the defendant not guilty.  If the answer to that question is yes, you must then ask whether that fear was reasonable. You must answer that question from the viewpoint of a reasonable person under the circumstances at the time.  You must ask yourself whether under all the circumstances then present, was the fear reasonable?

Conclusion
IIn summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant acted knowingly, (2) the defendant engaged in a course of conduct direct at a specific person, <insert name of person>, and (3) the defendant's conduct caused <insert name of person> to fear for ((his/her) physical safety / the physical safety of a third person, <insert name of third person>.

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

1 State v. Marsala, 44 Conn. App. 84, 98, cert. denied, 240 Conn. 912 (1997); see also State v. Jackson, 56 Conn. App. 264, 272, cert. denied, 242 Conn. 938 (2000).

2 For a discussion of the traditional legal definition of “lying in wait,” see State v. Culmo, 43 Conn. Sup. 46, 63-64 (1993).  The committee thought that this definition, with its emphasis on concealment and surprise, was not applicable to the behavior that the stalking statute addresses.

Commentary

This crime was significantly modified by Public Acts 2012, No. 114, effective October 1, 2012. In addition, a new subsection was added creating an alternative method of committing stalking in the second degree.  An instruction for that offense will be added in the future.

 


 

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