2005 Connecticut Code - Sec. 53a-19. Use of physical force in defense of person.

      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 knows that he 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 is in his dwelling, as defined in section 53a-100, or place of work and was not the initial aggressor, or if he is a peace officer or a private person assisting such peace officer at his 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 abstain from performing an act which he 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.)

      History: 1971 act specified that "reasonable" physical force is justified in Subsec. (a); P.A. 92-260 made technical changes.

      Cited. 166 C. 226, 230. A defendant is entitled to a theory of defense instruction as a matter of law where evidence under this section is before jury. 178 C. 704, 708. Cited. 182 C. 66, 73. Duty of retreat where aggressor is co-occupant of dwelling discussed. 185 C. 372, 377, 379, 383. Cited. 188 C. 237, 240; Id., 653, 658, 661-663, 665-667, 669. Cited. 194 C. 376, 377, 387, 388, 391. Cited. 196 C. 519, 521. Cited. 198 C. 454, 463, 468, 470. Cited. 199 C. 383-387. Cited. 200 C. 743, 745. Cited. 203 C. 466, 467, 469, 470. Cited. 204 C. 240, 250. Cited. 206 C. 621, 626. Cited. 207 C. 191, 192. Cited. 209 C. 34, 45, 46, 48. Cited. Id., 75, 93, 94. Cited. Id., 322, 330, 348, 349. Determined failure to instruct jury that defense of self-defense was applicable to lesser included offense was harmless error and reversed judgment of appellate court in State v. Hall, 17 CA 502. 213 C. 579, 583, 585-587. Cited. Id., 593, 596, 598-601. Cited. 219 C. 295, 296. Cited. 220 C. 602, 618-620. Cited. 226 C. 917. Cited. 227 C. 518, 519, 523, 525, 526, 532, 533. Cited. 228 C. 335, 338, 341, 342. Cited. Id., 851, 852. Cited. 231 C. 484, 485, 492. Cited. 232 C. 537, 544, 545. Cited. 233 C. 1, 5. Cited. Id., 517, 520. Cited. 234 C. 381, 383. Cited. 235 C. 274, 278, 285, 287. Cited. 242 C. 211. Subjective-objective test under section applies only to defendant: subjectively, defendant must believe that the use of deadly force is necessary, and objectively, that belief must be reasonable. 264 C. 723.

      Cited. 1 CA 609, 619. Cited. 5 CA 590, 596. Cited. 7 CA 223, 230. Cited. Id., 457, 468. Cited. 8 CA 667, 670, 671, 672A. Cited. 10 CA 643, 647. Cited. 13 CA 139, 145. Cited. 15 CA 34, 35, 39. Cited. 16 CA 264, 270. Cited. 17 CA 200, 201, 203, 205. Cited. Id., 326, 330. Cited. Id., 502, 509; judgment reversed, see 213 C. 579 et seq. Cited. 19 CA 576, 578. Cited. Id., 609, 612, 616. Cited. 20 CA 430, 431, 435. Cited. 23 CA 28, 32. Cited. Id., 615, 617. Cited. 24 CA 195, 210. Cited. Id., 541, 543. Cited. Id., 586, 587. Cited. Id., 624, 631, 635. Cited. 25 CA 456, 462-464. Cited. 27 CA 49, 58. Cited. 28 CA 469, 471. Cited. Id., 833, 836-838; judgment reversed, see 227 C. 518 et seq. Cited. 29 CA 262, 272. Cited. 30 CA 95, 107; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 147 et seq. Cited. Id., 406, 412; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Cited. 31 CA 58, 61, 69. Cited. Id., 140, 143, 148. Cited. 32 CA 687, 689, 694, 698, 700. Cited. 33 CA 616, 618. Cited. Id., 782, 788, 789. Cited. 34 CA 58, 67; judgment reversed, see 232 C. 537 et seq. Cited. Id., 368, 374-376; see also 233 C. 517 et seq. Cited. 36 CA 506, 509. Cited. 39 CA 563, 566, 568, 570, 571. Cited. 40 CA 189, 195, 207, 208. Cited. Id., 805, 813, 814. Cited. 41 CA 255, 273, 274. Cited. Id., 584, 592. Cited. 42 CA 348. Cited. 43 CA 488. Cited. 44 CA 62. Cited. 45 CA 390. Cited. 46 CA 216. Sufficiency of jury instructions re duty to retreat discussed. 48 CA 755. Statute construed to apply to person who also is usually lodged in those premises at night. 54 CA 26.

      Cited. 34 CS 612, 615. Use of deadly force not justified when attack by assailants on third person had stopped and assailants were leaving. 35 CS 570, 574. Cited. 38 CS 619, 622, 623. Cited. 43 CS 46, 66.

      Subsec. (a):

      Cited. 185 C. 372, 378. Cited. 186 C. 654, 659. Cited. 187 C. 199, 202. Cited. 188 C. 237, 242; Id., 653, 664, 668. Cited. 194 C. 376, 388-390. Cited. 198 C. 454, 464-466, 470, 475. Cited. 199 C. 383, 387. Cited. 203 C. 466, 470. Cited. 209 C. 322, 348. Cited. 213 C. 579, 585, 586. Cited. 225 C. 916. Cited. 228 C. 335, 336, 338, 340. Cited. Id., 335, 339. Cited. 231 C. 484, 492. Cited. 232 C. 537, 546. Cited. 234 C. 381, 389. Cited. 235 C. 274, 285, 286, 292, 293. Not only must defendant's belief in the type of threat facing him have been reasonable, but the degree of force used in response must be evaluated for reasonableness as well. 256 C. 193.

      Cited. 3 CA 289, 290. Cited. 5 CA 338, 340-343. Cited. 7 CA 457, 469. Cited. 20 CA 430, 433. Cited. 22 CA 521, 528. Cited. 23 CA 28, 37. Cited. 24 CA 541, 543. Cited. Id., 586, 587. Cited. 25 CA 456, 462. Cited. Id., 734, 737. Cited. 28 CA 469, 471-473. Cited. 29 CA 262, 270, 273. Cited. Id., 754, 769. Cited. 30 CA 406, 409-411, 413, 414; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Cited. Id., 406, 411; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Subdiv. (2) cited. Id.; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Cited. 31 CA 385, 389, 394, 395. Cited. 32 CA 687, 692, 694. Cited. 33 CA 782, 789. Cited. 34 CA 368, 376, 383, 384; see also 233 C. 517 et seq. Cited. 39 CA 563, 570. Cited. 40 CA 189, 206, 210. Cited. Id., 805, 810, 814. The subjective-objective inquiry into defendant's belief regarding the necessary degree of force requires jury to make two separate affirmative determinations in order for defendant's claim of self-defense to succeed. 68 CA 19. In the case of self-defense, eyewitness testimony of prior specific acts of violence perpetrated on defendant by his or her victim are admissible to show defendant's state of mind at the time of the killing. Id., 828. State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not justified in using deadly physical force. 75 CA 80. Where a particular jury instruction, when viewed in isolation, could have been construed as dictating a purely objective standard, it was held that the charge as a whole, adequately instructed jury as to both the subjective and objective aspects of the test involved in a self-defense analysis. Id.,500.

      Subsec. (b):

      Cited. 185 C. 372, 378. Cited. 186 C. 654, 659, 662, 663. Cited. 188 C. 653, 663. Cited. 194 C. 376, 388. Cited. 198 C. 454, 466, 470. Cited. 199 C. 383, 387. Cited. 203 C. 466, 470, 471. Cited. 209 C. 34, 46, 47. Subdiv. (1) cited. Id., 322, 339, 340, 342. Cited. 213 C. 579, 585. Subdiv. (1) cited. 219 C. 295, 301. Cited. 227 C. 518, 519, 529, 531. Cited. 228 C. 335, 338. Cited. 229 C. 916, 917, see also 35 CA 520 et seq. Cited. 231 C. 484, 492. Subdiv. (1) cited. 233 C. 517, 520. Defendant's knowledge of ability to retreat is measured according to the subjective standard of defendant's actual knowledge. Defendant accused of felony murder may not rely on a claim of self-defense. 254 C. 184.

      Cited. 19 CA 576, 579. Cited. 23 CA 28, 37. Cited. 24 CA 624, 632, 635. Cited. 28 CA 833, 840; judgment reversed, see 227 C. 518 et seq. Cited. 30 CA 406, 410, 411, 414; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Subdiv. (1) cited. 31 CA 385, 389. Subdiv. (1) cited. 32 CA 687, 699. Cited. 33 CA 782, 789, 794, 795, 797. Subdiv. (1) cited. Id., 782, 790. Subdiv. (1) cited. 34 CA 368, 374; see also 233 C. 517 et seq. Subdiv. (1) cited Id., 610, 616, 617. Cited. Id., 610, 617- 619. Cited. 39 CA 563, 570, 571. Cited. 40 CA 189, 211, 212. Cited. Id., 624, 630. Cited. 43 CA 488. Cited. 44 CA 62. Retreat exception applies to a dwelling, not to a superior right to being outside the dwelling. 47 CA 91.

      Subsec. (c):

      Cited. 188 C. 653, 664, 668. Cited. 194 C. 376, 388-390. Cited. 198 C. 454, 455, 466, 468-471, 475. Cited. Id., 454, 471. Cited. 213 C. 579, 585. Subdiv. (2) cited. 219 C. 295, 296, 298, 300, 301. Subdiv. (2) cited. 221 C. 58, 76. Subdiv. (3) cited. Id. Cited. 228 C. 335, 338. Subdiv. (2): Person who first uses physical force is not necessarily the initial aggressor under this section. Judgment of appellate court in State v. Jimenez, 30 CA 406, reversed. Id., 335, 339, 340. Subdiv. (2) cited. 232 C. 537, 546. Subdiv. (2) cited. 235 C. 274, 292, 294. Subdiv. (1) cited. Id., 274, 294. There was no occasion for trial court to instruct the jury on initial aggressor doctrine under Subdiv. (2) when the state did not claim that defendant was the initial aggressor. 246 C. 268.

      Subdiv. (1) cited. 7 CA 223, 235. Subdiv. (2) cited. Id. Subdiv. (1): Provocation element carries with it requirement that actor act with specific intent to elicit use of physical force by another. 19 CA 609, 610, 612-617. Subdiv. (2) cited. Id., 609, 616. Cited. 20 CA 430, 433. Cited. 22 CA 521, 530. Subdiv. (2) cited. 23 CA 28, 36. Cited. 30 CA 406, 409-412, 414; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Subdiv. (2) cited. Id., 406, 411; judgment reversed, see 228 C. 335 et seq. Subdiv. (1) cited. 33 CA 616, 618. Cited. Id., 782, 789. Subdiv. (1) cited Id., 782, 790. Subdiv. (2) cited. Id. Subdiv. (3) cited. Id. Subdiv. (2) cited. 35 CA 699, 710. Jury could have reasonably concluded from evidence presented that defendant was not justified in using deadly force against the victim because he was the initial aggressor. 75 CA 80.

      Cited. 41 CS 525, 530.


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