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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

2.6-11 Multiple Charges and/or Informations

New, June 13, 2008 (modified April 23, 2010)

The defendant is charged with __ counts [in __ separate informations]. [<If there is more than one information:> The state has commenced __ separate cases against the defendant. They have been consolidated for the convenience of trial.] 

[<If the information has been amended since beginning of trial:> To the extent that there have been any changes regarding the content of the information[s], it is of no concern to your deliberations. You are to consider only the specific charges submitted to you and not concern yourself with how the information[s] may have read when it was read to you at the start of trial.]

The defendant is entitled to and must be given by you a separate and independent determination of whether (he/she) is guilty or not guilty as to each of the counts. Each of the counts charged is a separate crime. The state is required to prove each element in each count beyond a reasonable doubt. Each count must be deliberated upon separately. The total number of counts charged does not add to the strength of the state's case.

You may find that some evidence applies to more than one count in more than one information. The evidence, however, must be considered separately as to each element in each count. Each count is a separate entity.1

You must consider each count separately and return a separate verdict for each count. This means that you may reach opposite verdicts on different counts. A decision on one count does not bind your decision on another count.
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1 When charges involve different victims, the jury must also be instructed to separately consider the charges relating to each victim, and the evidence pertaining to each victim must be clearly distinguished. State v. Davis, 286 Conn. 17, 33-36 nn.8-12 (2008); State v. Ellis, 270 Conn. 337, 378-79 (2004).

Commentary

This instruction should be tailored to assist the jury in evaluating the evidence for each count. State v. Santaniello, 96 Conn. App. 646, 658 and 658-59 n.3, cert. denied, 280 Conn. 920 (2006) (in addition to instructing that each count was a separate offense and must be considered individually, "the court painstakingly went through all of the evidence, explaining to the jury for what purposes each bit of evidence or testimony could be considered in relation to the individual informations and explaining to the jury that the evidence could not be considered for any other purpose"); State v. Rodriguez, 91 Conn. App. 112, 121, cert. denied, 276 Conn. 909 (2005) (court instructed the jury to consider each charge separately, and detailed the evidence that applied to more than one charge). "[I]n cases in which the likelihood of prejudice is not overwhelming . . . such curative instructions may tip the balance in favor of a finding that the defendant's right to a fair trial has been preserved." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Atkinson, 235 Conn. 748, 766-67 n.23 (1996); State v. Virgo, 115 Conn. App. 786, 795 n.3, cert. denied, 293 Conn. 923  (2009); State v. David P., 70 Conn. App. 462, 470 n.10, cert. denied, 262 Conn. 907 (2002).
 


 

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