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Criminal Jury Instructions

Recent Changes
The revision date of each instruction indicates the date the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee approved the adoption or substantive revision of an instruction. When there has been a minor stylistic change or an update to the commentary, but the substantive body of the instruction remains the same, it will be indicated by a parenthetical date for modification. E.g., “Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified June 15, 2008)” means that on June 15, 2008, the instruction or its commentary was modified in some minor way that did not affect the substance of the instruction.


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January 2015
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee on November 6, 2014:

Recent Case Law 

All case law published prior to the meeting date was incorporated in the commentary where appropriate.  

Changes were made to the following instructions:  

Statutory Amendments  

Many of the statutes were amended by the General Assembly.  Most such changes were minor, but of particular note are: 

New Instructions
The following new instructions were added:


September 2013
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee on May 23, 2013:

Recent Case Law 

All case law published prior to the meeting date was incorporated where appropriate. Of particular note are:

New Instruction

This new instruction was added in response to Kervick v. Silver Hills Hospital, 309 Conn. 688 (2013), which instructed trial courts to instruct newly selected jurors and alternates to avoid all publicity and communications about the case. In addition, to better organize the instructions to the voir dire panel, minor changes were made to 1.1-4 The Voir Dire Process and 1.1-5 Juror's Duties and Responsibilities.
Our Supreme Court, in State v. Medrano, 308 Conn. 604 (2013), directed trial courts “to refrain from instructing jurors, when a defendant testifies, that they may specifically consider the defendant’s interest in the outcome of the case and the importance to him of the outcome of the trial. Instead, we instruct the trial courts to use the general credibility instruction to apply to a criminal defendant who testifies.” Id., 631. The Court then cited Instruction 2.4-7 as proper.
In State v. Guilbert, 306 Conn. 218 (2012), the Court approved the use of expert testimony on eyewitness identification. If such testimony is permitted, the trial court should refer the jury to the instruction on evaluating expert testimony.
Statutory Amendments

Capital felony
Instruction 5.5 has been amended to reflect the statutory change from “capital felony” to “murder with special circumstances.”

General Statutes § 53a-135 was amended to define another way of committing Robbery in the Second Degree. Instruction 6.4-2 was modified to reflect the changes in the subsection numbering, and Instruction 6.4-5 was added for Robbery in the Second Degree (in a Bank or Credit Union).

Miscellaneous Changes

The following instructions were revised as the result of suggestions received by the committee:

The phrase “aberrant and compulsive sexual behavior” was changed to “criminal sexual behavior.” The latter phrase was thought to be more neutral and less prejudicial.
Revised the paragraph that defines “obstructs, resists, hinders, and endangers” to reflect case law that discusses the four verbs as describing interfering, rather than four discrete ways of committing the offense.

July 2012
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee on May 10, 2012:

Commentary Updates

All case law published prior to the meeting date was incorporated into footnotes and commentary where appropriate.

New Instruction

Revised Instructions

The statutory amendments made during the 2011 session of the General Assembly were incorporated into the instructions. The more significant changes are:

  • P.A. No. 11-129 replaced the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual disability" in numerous statutes.

  • P.A. No. 11-71 made possession of less than one-half ounce of a cannabis-type substance an infraction. This required changes to many of the drug offense instructions.

  • P.A. No. 11-165, § 1, modified the definition of identity theft by deleting the requirement that the money, credit, goods, services, property or medical information obtained be "in the name of the person." Instruction 10.3-1 has been modified accordingly.

In addition, changes were made to the following instructions as the result of suggestions received by the committee.

June 6, 2011
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee on May 20, 2011:

Commentary Updates

All case law published prior to the meeting date was incorporated into footnotes and commentary where appropriate.

New Instruction

Revised Instructions

The statutory amendments made during the 2010 session of the General Assembly were incorporated into the instructions. The more significant changes are:

  • 2.12-1 Persistent Offenders -- § 53a-40, § 53a- 40a, § 53a-40d and § 53a-40f - P.A. No. 10-144, § 12, removed the five-year look-back period from § 53a-40d and added a provision for out-of-state convictions to that statute. Such a provision is also in § 53as-40 and § 53a-40f. A footnote was added explaining that this finding is a question of law for the court.

  • 4.5-9 Perjury -- § 53a-156 - P.A. No. 10-180, § 7, incorporated the Unsworn Foreign Declaration Act and added an affirmative defense of coercion.

  • 7.3-1 Prostitution -- § 53a-82  - P.A. No. 10-115, § 1, add an element requiring that the defendant be at least sixteen years old and an affirmative defense of coercion.

  • 7.3-5 Promoting Prostitution in the First Degree (By a Minor) -- § 53a-86 (a) (2) - P.A. No. 10-115, §§ 2 and 3, amended § 53a-86 (a) (2) and deleted § 53a-87 (a) (2), making Promoting Prostitution by a Minor a first degree offense when against anyone under 18 years of age. If the offense was against a person 16 or 17 years of age prior to October 1, 2010, it was second degree.

  • 7.7-4 Possessing Child Pornography -- §§ 53a-196d, 53a-196e, and 53a-196f
    P.A. No. 10-191, §§ 2-4, added to first degree the alternative of one or more visual depictions of child pornography that depict the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury, and added to all degrees an affirmative defense that the possession was a violation of § 53a-196h, Possessing or Transmitting Child Pornography by Minor (aka, “sexting”).

In addition, changes were made to the following instructions as the result of suggestions received by the committee.

  • 3.1 Vicarious Liability - Rewrote the Introduction, Instruction 3.1, to better incorporate § 53a-8 (b), Vicarious Liability for Providing a Firearm, and adding the necessity for a specific unanimity instruction if any combination of liability under § 53a-8 (a), § 53a-8 (b), and Pinkerton is alleged in Instructions 3.1-1, 3.-1-3, and 3.1-4.

  • 6.5-5 Unlawful Restraint in the First Degree -- § 53a-95 and 6.5-6 Unlawful Restraint in the Second Degree -- § 53a-96 - Separated the prior first element, intentional restraint, into two elements, intent to restrain and restraint.

  • 7.2-1 Constancy of Accusation - Added language to explain the limitations put upon constancy of accusation testimony by Troupe to avoid the possibility that jurors might find that the victim’s testimony regarding the details of the crime that went beyond the limitations of the constancy testimony was not corroborated or supported by, and thus inconsistent with, the constancy testimony.


The statutory definition of numerous phrases used in the forgery statutes were revised by P.A. No. 10-180, § 4.

April 23, 2010
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instructions Committee on April 23, 2010:

Commentary Updates 

All case law through the meeting date of April 23, 2010 was incorporated into footnotes and commentary where appropriate.

New Instruction

  • 4.3-5  Interference with a Search -- § 54-33d  - The new instruction was modeled on other similar instructions, especially Instruction 4.3-1, Interference with an Officer.  In reviewing the explanation of the term “in the performance of duties” that appears in that instruction and which was derived from appellate case law, it was decided that the phrase “engaging in a personal frolic of his/her own,” a term of art derived from agency law, was not appropriate for a lay jury.  In the interest of using plain language whenever possible, the explanation of “in the performance of duties” was modified in Instructions 4.3-1, Interference with an Officer; 4.3-3, Assault  of Public Safety or Emergency Medical Personnel; 5.5-1, Capital Felony, Murder of a Police Officer; and 6.1-17, Assault of an Employee of the Department of Correction.

Revised Instructions

  • 2.5-3 Informant Testimony - This instruction has been substantially revised in light of State v. Arroyo, 292 Conn. 558 (2009).

  • 8.3-1 Driving Under the Influence -- § 14-227a - P.A. No. 09-187, § 62, lowered the blood alcohol content for the “per se” violation if the defendant was driving a commercial vehicle, effective October 1, 2009.

  • 8.3-2 Driving Under the Influence, Under 21 Years Old -- § 14-227g
    P.A. No. 09-187, § 64, removed the requirement of a public highway, effective October 1, 2009.

  • Larceny
    P.A. No. 09-138, effective October 1, 2009, amended General Statutes §§ 53a-122 through 53a-125b, to adjust the dollar amounts that separate the degrees of larceny.  This change affected all larceny instructions in which the value of the property is an element.  See Introduction to Larceny for a table with the new values.

  • 10.3-1 Identity Theft
    P.A. No. 09-239 redefined identity theft, effective October 1, 2009.  The old instruction was archived for use in future trials under the old statute.


The definition of “dangerous instrument” was revised in light of the discussion in State v. Ovechka, 118 Conn. App. 733, 739 (2010).

The statutory definition of “school employee” was modified by P.A. No. 09-242, § 1, and that of “prescription” by P.A. No. 09-22, § 3.

P.A. No. 09-191, § 2, added a new term, “public transit employee,” to § 53a-167c , Assault of Public Safety or Emergency Medical Personnel.

The term “health care professional,” which appears in § 53a-71 (a) (7), Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, and § 53a-73a (a) (5), Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree, has no statutory definition in the Penal Code.  Section 19a-12a (a) (3) defines it as a person licensed under any of numerous statutes.  The new glossary entry for “health care professional” provides a chart of all the statutes that set forth the definitions and licensing requirements for the different health care professionals.

June 12, 2009
The following changes were approved by the Criminal Jury Instruction Committee on June 12, 2009:

New Instruction

Revised Instructions

November 1, 2008 
Commentary has been updated with case law through November 1, 2008.  In addition, the following substantive changes have been made:

New Instructions

Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint
Introduction to Kidnapping and Unlawful Restraint.  This introductory section was revised in light of State v. Salamon, 287 Conn. 509 (2008), State v. Sanseverino, 287 Conn. 608 (2008), and State v. DeJesus, 288 Conn. 418 (2008).

Sexual Assault in the 3rd and 4th Degrees

These three instructions were revised to make them consistent with one another in their definition of “sexual conduct” and intent.  Some of the revisions were the result of rethinking the changes made in June 2008, which had distinguished the intent of subsection (a) (1) of § 53a-73a from that of subsections (a) (2) through (a) (8) because of the placement of “intentionally” in the statute.  The committee is now convinced that all subsections of sexual assault that are premised on “sexual contact” are specific intent crimes.  See State v. Faria, 254 Conn. 613, 636 n.24 (2000).

A statement was added to all the burglary instructions directing the court to not only identify the crime that the defendant allegedly intended to commit but to also outline the elements of the crime.

Miscellaneous changes

August 2008
The following changes were made to align the instructions with changes made to the statutes during the 2008 session of the General Assembly:

The phrase “or quasi-public agency” was added to the definition of “public servant” by Public Acts 2008, No. 08--3, § 7, effective October 1, 2008. It occurs in the following instructions:

“Department of Motor Vehicles inspector” was added to General Statutes 53a-167a, 53a-167b, and 53a-167c, by Public Acts 2008, No. 08-150, §§ 52, 53, 54, effective October 1, 2008. Changes were made to the following instructions to accommodate this addition:

General Statutes § 38a-287, Defrauding Life or Accident Insurance Companies, was amended by public Acts 2008, No. 08-178, § 12, to raise from $100 to $2,000 the amount that triggers an enhanced penalty effective October 1, 2008. The commentary to Instruction # 10.6-1 was modified accordingly.

June 13, 2008
New Instructions
The following new instructions were approved by the committee:

Revised Instructions
The following instructions were revised:

  • 2.7-3 Duress -- § 53a-14. This instruction was completely revised in light of State v. Heinemann, 282 Conn. 281 (2007).
  • 7.1-7 Sexual Assault 2nd -- § 53a-71. Public Acts 2007, No. 07-143, § 1, amended § 53a-71 (a) (1) to require that the actor be 3 years older, rather than 2 years older, than the victim.
  • 7.1-11 Sexual Assault 4th -- § 53a-73a. This instruction was divided into two instructions (7.1-11 and 7.1-12) to distinguish the specific intent required by subsection (a) (1) and the general intent of subsections (a) (2) through (a) (8). Public Acts 2007, No. 07-143, § 2, amended subsection (a) (1) (A) to require that the actor be 2 years older than the victim and the victim be under thirteen rather than fifteen, and added subsection (a) (1) (B), providing that the victim be thirteen or older but under fifteen years old and the actor more than 3 years older. Existing subsections (a) (1) (B) through (E) were changed to (a) (1) (C) through (F).
  • 7.2-1 Constancy of Accusation. A sentence was added limiting the jury’s application of constancy of accusation evidence to charges of sexual assault as recommended by State v. Farmer, 108 Conn. App. 82 (2008).
  • 8.2-16 Carrying Dangerous Weapons -- § 53-206. Added optional language regarding the “true threat” doctrine as discussed in State v. Cook, 287 Conn. 237, 252 (2008).
  • 8.9-6 Noncompliance with DNA Sampling -- § 54-102g (g) and 8.9-7 Noncompliance with Venereal Disease or HIV Exam -- § 54-102a (c). In light of the Supreme Court’s analysis in State v. T.R.D., 286 Conn. 191, 223-24 (2008), finding that Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (new instruction 7.8-1) is a strict liability crime, these instructions were revised to delete any requirement of knowledge or wilfullness.
  • 9.2-2 Burglary in the First Degree -- § 53a-101 (a) (3). Public Acts, Jan. Spec. Sess., 2008, No. 08-1, §§ 2 and 3, moved § 53a-102 (a) (1) to § 53a-101 (a) (3), making a burglary to a dwelling at night first degree rather than second degree burglary.

Other Modifications
In addition, the commentaries for all instructions for statutes that provide for an enhanced sentence either for additional factual issues (e.g., the age of the victim) or for prior convictions have been modified to include the statutory reference and a link to either Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4, or Subsequent Offenders, Instruction 2.12-2.

All commentaries have been updated with recent case law.


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