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Criminal Jury Instructions

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4.6-7  Escape from Custody -- 53a-171 (a) (1)

Revised to December 1, 2007 (modified August 1, 2008)

The defendant is charged [in count ___] with escape from custody.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of escape from custody if such person escapes from custody.

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

Element 1 - In custody
The first element is that the defendant was in custody.  "Custody" means restraint by a public servant pursuant to (an arrest / court order [other than a Probate Court order]) directed against a person who is not in the custody of the Commissioner of Correction when such order is issued.  "Public servant" means an (officer or employee of government or a quasi-public agency, elected or appointed / any person participating as advisor, consultant or otherwise, paid or unpaid, in performing a governmental function).

[<If custody was pursuant to arrest:>  To constitute an arrest, there must be an actual or constructive seizure or detention of the person, performed with the intention to effect an arrest and so understood by the person detained.  The presence of a formal declaration of arrest or control over the person or actual restraint of the person is not determinative of an arrest.  A person is seized when, by means of physical force or show of authority, (his/her) freedom of movement is restrained.  The test is whether in view of all the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that (he/she) was not free to leave.1] 

Element 2 - Escaped
The second element is that the defendant escaped from such custody.  Escape has its ordinary meaning.  It means to leave custody without the permission of the keeper. 


In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant was in custody, and 2) that (he/she) escaped from that custody.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of escape from custody, 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 See State v. Laws, 37 Conn. App. 276, 282-84, cert. denied, 234 Conn. 907 (1995).


"No specific intent is necessary to commit the crime of escape.  The ordinary intent required to constitute the crime of escape is the intent to voluntarily do the act that results in the unlawful liberation from lawful custody."  State v. Laws, supra, 37 Conn. App. 284; see also State v. Roy, 173 Conn. 35, 45-48 (1977).

"Precisely when an arrest occurs is a question of fact which depends on an evaluation of all the surrounding circumstances."  (Internal quotation marks omitted.)  State v. Laws, supra, 37 Conn. App. 282.

Sentence Enhancer
Section 53a-171 (b) provides an enhanced penalty if the defendant has been arrested for, charged with or convicted of a felony.  The jury must find this fact proved beyond a reasonable doubt.  See Sentence Enhancers, Instruction 2.11-4.


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