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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

9.1-10  Larceny by Acquiring Property Lost, Mislaid or Delivered by Mistake -- 53a-119 (4) and 53a-122 through 53a-125b

Revised to April 23, 2010

Note:  The degree of the larceny is determined by the value of the property stolen.  See 53a-122 (first degree); 53a-123 (second degree); 53a-124 (third degree); 53a-125 (fourth degree); 53a-125a (fifth degree); 53a-125b (sixth degree). The dollar amounts for the degrees of larceny were increased as of October 1, 2009.  See the table in Introduction to Larceny for the values in effect prior to that date.

The defendant is charged [in count __] with larceny by acquiring property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake in the (first / second / third / fourth / fifth / sixth) degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person who comes into control of property of another that (he/she) knows to have been lost, mislaid or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of larceny if, with purpose to deprive the owner thereof, (he/she) fails to take reasonable measures to restore the property to a person entitled to it.

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

Element 1 - Acquired property of another
The first element is that the defendant came into control of the property of another.  This means that the defendant took possession of the property or put the property in some place where it would be subject to (his/her) will.  It means asserting some dominion or authority over the property by some action, such as moving it to some other location, concealing it, or using it.  Some overt act of control is essential.

Element 2 - Knowledge
The second element is that the defendant knew that the property had been lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake.  A person acts "knowingly" with respect to conduct or circumstances when (he/she) is aware that (his/her) conduct is of such nature or that such circumstances exist.  <See Knowledge, Instruction 2.3-3.

Element 3 - Failed to take measures to restore property
The third element is that the defendant did not take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner.  What measures are reasonable depends upon the circumstances -- the opportunity to return the property, the identifiability of the owner, the lapse of time, and any other factor bearing on reasonableness.  A person is not required, however, to incur any substantial expense in order to return property to the owner.

It is specifically provided by another statute that a person who finds and takes possession of any property of more than $1.00 in value must report to the police within forty-eight hours that (he/she) has found such property.1  Therefore, if you find that the defendant failed to report the finding of such property to the police within such time, you may, but are not required to, find that this was unreasonable. 

Element 4 - Intent
The fourth element is that the defendant intended to deprive the owner of the property.  To intend to "deprive" another of property means to intend to withhold or keep or cause it to be withheld from another permanently, or for so long a period or under such circumstances that the major portion of its value is lost to that person.  In other words, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant took control of the property for the purpose of keeping or using it permanently or virtually permanently, or of disposing of the property in such a way that there was a permanent or virtually permanent loss of the property to the owner.

A person might take control of property that (he/she) knows is lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake, but would not be guilty of larceny if (he/she) had the intent to restore it to the owner.  An intention to use property temporarily would not be an intent to deprive the owner of the property, unless such use involved the loss of a major portion of the value of the property to the owner.  An intention to dispose of the property so as to render it unlikely that the owner will recover it would include such actions as a sale or transfer to another person, concealment, or alteration of the property, if such a disposition would render it unlikely that the property would be recovered.

Element 5 - Value
The fifth element is that the property had a value that <insert as appropriate:>

First degree:  exceeded $20,000.
Second degree:  exceeded $10,000.
Third degree:  exceeded $2,000.
Fourth degree:  exceeded $1,000.
Fifth degree:  exceeded $500.
Sixth degree:  did not exceed $500.

<See Larceny, Instruction 9.1-1, for a full explanation of this element.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant came into control of property, 2) (he/she) knew that the property was lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake, 3) (he/she) did not take reasonable measures to restore the property to the owner, 4) (he/she) intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property, and 5) the value of the property obtained was <insert value according to degree charged>.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of larceny by acquiring property lost, mislaid or delivered by mistake, 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 General Statutes 50-10.
 


 

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