CHAPTER 951
PENAL CODE: STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION;
PRINCIPLES OF CRIMINAL LIABILITY

Table of Contents

Sec. 53a-7. Effect of intoxication.
Sec. 53a-8. Criminal liability for acts of another.
Sec. 53a-19. Use of physical force in defense of person.
Sec. 53a-22. Use of physical force in making arrest or preventing escape.
Sec. 53a-23. Use of physical force to resist arrest not justified.

      Sec. 53a-7. Effect of intoxication.

      Trial court did not improperly exclude proffered evidence re defendant's claim of intoxication at time of murder. 91 CA 169.

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      Sec. 53a-8. Criminal liability for acts of another.

      Principles of accessorial liability may be used to prove aggravating factors in penalty phase of a capital case. 271 C. 338.

      Subsec. (a):

      Jury did not have to find that defendant actually wielded knife during robbery. It had to find that defendant was a participant in the robbery. 275 C. 534.

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      Sec. 53a-19. Use of physical force in defense of person. (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section, a person is justified in using reasonable physical force upon another person to defend himself or a third person from what he reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of physical force, and he may use such degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for such purpose; except that deadly physical force may not be used unless the actor reasonably believes that such other person is (1) using or about to use deadly physical force, or (2) inflicting or about to inflict great bodily harm.

      (b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a person is not justified in using deadly physical force upon another person if he or she knows that he or she can avoid the necessity of using such force with complete safety (1) by retreating, except that the actor shall not be required to retreat if he or she is in his dwelling, as defined in section 53a-100, or place of work and was not the initial aggressor, or if he or she is a peace officer or a special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or a private person assisting such peace officer or special policeman at his or her direction, and acting pursuant to section 53a-22, or (2) by surrendering possession of property to a person asserting a claim of right thereto, or (3) by complying with a demand that he or she abstain from performing an act which he or she is not obliged to perform.

      (c) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a person is not justified in using physical force when (1) with intent to cause physical injury or death to another person, he provokes the use of physical force by such other person, or (2) he is the initial aggressor, except that his use of physical force upon another person under such circumstances is justifiable if he withdraws from the encounter and effectively communicates to such other person his intent to do so, but such other person notwithstanding continues or threatens the use of physical force, or (3) the physical force involved was the product of a combat by agreement not specifically authorized by law.

      (1969, P.A. 828, S. 19; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 5; P.A. 92-260, S. 4; P.A. 05-180, S. 1.)

      History: 1971 act specified that "reasonable" physical force is justified in Subsec. (a); P.A. 92-260 made technical changes; P.A. 05-180 amended Subsec. (b) to include a special policeman appointed under Sec. 29-18b within the purview of Subdiv. (1) and make technical changes for the purpose of gender neutrality.

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      Sec. 53a-22. Use of physical force in making arrest or preventing escape. (a) For purposes of this section, a reasonable belief that a person has committed an offense means a reasonable belief in facts or circumstances which if true would in law constitute an offense. If the believed facts or circumstances would not in law constitute an offense, an erroneous though not unreasonable belief that the law is otherwise does not render justifiable the use of physical force to make an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody. A peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or an authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles who is effecting an arrest pursuant to a warrant or preventing an escape from custody is justified in using the physical force prescribed in subsections (b) and (c) of this section unless such warrant is invalid and is known by such officer to be invalid.

      (b) Except as provided in subsection (a) of this section, a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles is justified in using physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense, unless he or she knows that the arrest or custody is unauthorized; or (2) defend himself or herself or a third person from the use or imminent use of physical force while effecting or attempting to effect an arrest or while preventing or attempting to prevent an escape.

      (c) A peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles is justified in using deadly physical force upon another person for the purposes specified in subsection (b) of this section only when he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to: (1) Defend himself or herself or a third person from the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (2) effect an arrest or prevent the escape from custody of a person whom he or she reasonably believes has committed or attempted to commit a felony which involved the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and if, where feasible, he or she has given warning of his or her intent to use deadly physical force.

      (d) Except as provided in subsection (e) of this section, a person who has been directed by a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles to assist such peace officer, special policeman or official to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody is justified in using reasonable physical force when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to carry out such peace officer's, special policeman's or official's direction.

      (e) A person who has been directed to assist a peace officer, special policeman appointed under section 29-18b or authorized official of the Department of Correction or the Board of Pardons and Paroles under circumstances specified in subsection (d) of this section may use deadly physical force to effect an arrest or to prevent an escape from custody only when: (1) He or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of deadly physical force; or (2) he or she is directed or authorized by such peace officer, special policeman or official to use deadly physical force, unless he or she knows that the peace officer, special policeman or official himself or herself is not authorized to use deadly physical force under the circumstances.

      (f) A private person acting on his or her own account is justified in using reasonable physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes such to be necessary to effect an arrest or to prevent the escape from custody of an arrested person whom he or she reasonably believes to have committed an offense and who in fact has committed such offense; but he or she is not justified in using deadly physical force in such circumstances, except in defense of person as prescribed in section 53a-19.

      (1969, P.A. 828, S. 23; 1971, P.A. 826; 871, S. 8; P.A. 86-231; 86-403, S. 87, 132; P.A. 92-260, S. 7; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-6, S. 23, 28; P.A. 04-257, S. 119; P.A. 05-108, S. 6; 05-180, S. 2.)

      History: 1971 acts applied provisions of Subsecs. (a) to (f) to authorized officials of department of correction and specified authority to use physical force to prevent escape from custody in Subsec. (a) and deleted former Subsec. (g) which had allowed peace officers employed in correctional facilities to use force to prevent a prisoner's escape and specified use of "reasonable" physical force; P.A. 86-231 amended Subdiv. (2) of Subsec. (c) to add provision that the felony involve the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and that the officer or official give a warning if feasible of his intent to use deadly physical force; P.A. 86-403 made technical change in Subsec. (b); P.A. 92-260 made technical changes by replacing "believes it necessary", "believes that such is necessary" and "believes it is necessary" with "believes such to be necessary"; May Sp. Sess. P.A. 94-6 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to add authorized officials of the Board of Parole, effective July 1, 1994; P.A. 04-257 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to delete references to an authorized official of the Board of Parole, effective June 14, 2004; P.A. 05-108 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to restore references to an authorized official of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, effective June 7, 2005; P.A. 05-180 amended Subsecs. (a) to (e), inclusive, to include a special policeman appointed under Sec. 29-18b within the purview of said Subsecs. and made technical changes for the purpose of gender neutrality throughout.

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      Sec. 53a-23. Use of physical force to resist arrest not justified. A person is not justified in using physical force to resist an arrest by a reasonably identifiable peace officer or special policeman appointed under section 29-18b, whether such arrest is legal or illegal.

      (1969, P.A. 828, S. 22; 1971, P.A. 871, S. 9; P.A. 05-180, S. 3.)

      History: 1971 act deleted definition of peace officer, but see Sec. 53a-3; P.A. 05-180 included a special policeman appointed under Sec. 29-18b within purview of section.

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