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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

4.4-1  Failure to Appear (While Released on Bail or a Promise to Appear) -- § 53a-172 (a) (1) and § 53a-173 (a) (1)

Revised to December 1, 2007

Note:  The degree of the offense depends on the classification of the underlying crime.  See § 53a-172 (first degree: felony); § 53a-173 (second degree: misdemeanor or motor vehicle violation which a sentence of a term of imprisonment may be imposed).

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with failure to appear in the (first/second) degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of failure to appear in the (first / second) degree when while charged with the commission of a (felony / misdemeanor / motor vehicle violation which a sentence to a term of imprisonment may be imposed) and while out on bail or released under other procedure of law, (he/she) wilfully fails to appear when legally called according to the terms of (his/her) bail bond or promise to appear.

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

Element 1 - Released on bail or promise to appear
The first element is that the defendant was released on (bail / a promise to appear) upon the condition that (he/she) appear personally in connection with (his/her) criminal proceeding at a later date.  The statute requires that the crime with which the defendant was charged when (he/she) was released must be a (felony / misdemeanor / motor vehicle violation for which a sentence of a term of imprisonment may be imposed). I instruct you, as a matter of law, that <insert underlying charge> is a (felony / misdemeanor / motor vehicle violation which a sentence of a term of imprisonment may be imposed). 

Element 2 - Duty to appear
The second element is that on <insert date>, the defendant was required to appear before (a court / judicial officer) in connection with the charge of <insert underlying charge>. 

Element 3 - Failure  to appear
The third element is that the defendant wilfully failed to appear as required.  An act is done wilfully if done knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately.  In order to prove this element, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt either that the defendant received and knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately ignored a notice to appear or that the defendant knowingly, intentionally, and deliberately embarked on a course of conduct designed to prevent (him/her) from receiving such notice.1  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.> 

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant was released on (bail / a promise to appear) on the condition that (he/she) appear personally in connection with (his/her) criminal proceeding at a later date, 2) (he/she) was required to appear in court on <insert date>, and 3) (he/she) wilfully failed to appear on that date.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of failure to appear, 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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1 State v. Cerilli, 222 Conn. 556, 583-84 (1992)

Commentary

Multiple charges
"[C]onduct resulting in the forfeiture of multiple bonds, even conduct consisting of a single act of failing to appear, furnishes a basis for finding multiple violations of § 53a-172."  State v. Garvin, 242 Conn. 296, 305 (1997) (discussing the purpose of the statute as protecting the integrity of the bail bond system).  Note that the subsection concerning failure to appear while on probation was added in 1998.

See State v. Khadijah, 98 Conn. App. 409 (2006), appeal dismissed, 284 Conn. 429 (2007) (failure to appear was not wilful).
 


 

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