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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

10.1-1  Forgery in the First Degree -- 53a-138

Revised to May 20, 2011

The defendant is charged [in count __] with forgery in the first degree.  The statute defining this offense reads in pertinent part as follows: 

a person is guilty of forgery in the first degree when, with intent to (defraud / deceive / injure) another, (he/she) <insert as appropriate:>

  • falsely (makes / completes / alters) a written instrument,
  • (issues / possesses) any written instrument that (he/she) knows to be forged,

which is or purports to be, or which is calculated to become or represent if completed, <insert as appropriate:>

  • part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental instrumentality.

  • part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property.

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

Element 1 - Made, issued, falsified or possessed a written instrument
The first element is that the defendant <insert as appropriate:>

  • falsely (made / completed / altered) a written instrument.

  • (issued / possessed) any written instrument that (he/she) knew to be forged.

A "written instrument" is any instrument or article containing written or printed matter or the equivalent thereof, used for the purpose of reciting, embodying, conveying, or recording information or constituting a symbol or evidence of value, right, privilege or identification, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person.  A "forged instrument" means a written instrument which has been falsely made, completed or altered.

For first degree forgery, the written instrument must be <insert as appropriate:>

  • part of an issue of money, stamps, securities or other valuable instruments issued by a government or governmental instrumentality.

  • part of an issue of stock, bonds or other instruments representing interests in or claims against a corporate or other organization or its property.

<Describe the written instrument at issue.>

[<If charged with falsely making, completing, or altering, insert appropriate definitions:>

  • A written instrument may be complete or incomplete.  A "complete written instrument" is a written instrument that is fully drawn with respect to every essential feature thereof, whereas an "incomplete written instrument" is one that contains some matter by way of content or authentication but requires additional matter in order to render it a complete written instrument.

  • A person "falsely makes" a written instrument when

    • (he/she) makes or draws a complete written instrument in its entirety, or an incomplete written instrument, which purports to be an authentic creation of its ostensible maker or drawer, but which is not such either because the ostensible maker or drawer is fictitious or because, if real, (he/she) did not authorize the making or drawing thereof.
    • (he/she) signs (his/her) own name to a written instrument, thereby falsely and fraudulently representing that (he/she) has authority to sign in such capacity.

  • A person "falsely completes" a written instrument when

    • (he/she), by adding, inserting or changing matter, transforms an incomplete written instrument into a complete one, without the authority of anyone entitled to grant it, so that such complete instrument appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of or fully authorized by its ostensible maker or drawer.
    • (he/she) signs (his/her) own name to a written instrument, thereby falsely and fraudulently representing that (he/she) has authority to sign in such capacity

  • A person "falsely alters" a written instrument when

    • (he/she), without the authority of anyone entitled to grant it, changes a written instrument, whether it be in complete or incomplete form, by means of erasure, obliteration, deletion, insertion of new matter, transposition of matter, or in any other manner, so that such instrument in its thus altered form appears or purports to be in all respects an authentic creation of or fully authorized by its ostensible maker or drawer.
    • (he/she) signs (his/her) own name to a written instrument, thereby falsely and fraudulently representing that (he/she) has authority to sign in such capacity.

The term "falsely" does not refer to the content or tone of the writing, or to the fact stated in the writing, but implies that the paper is false, not genuine, fictitious, not a true writing, without regard to the truth or falsehood of the statement it contains.]

[<If charged with issuing and/or possessing, insert appropriate definitions:>

  • "Issuing" means signing, endorsing, circulating, distributing, publishing or the like.  The state must prove that the defendant knew that the <insert type of written instrument> was forged.  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.>]

  • "Possession" means either actual possession or constructive possession.  Actual possession means actual physical possession, such as having the object on one's person.  Constructive possession means having the object in a place under one's dominion and control.  The state must prove that the defendant knew that the <insert type of written instrument> was forged.  <See Possession, Instruction 2.11-1.>]

Element 2 - Intent
The second element is that the defendant had the specific intent to (deceive / defraud / injure) another person.  A person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result when (his/her) conscious objective is to cause such result.  <See Intent: Specific, Instruction 2.3-1.>

Conclusion

In summary, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that 1) the defendant (falsely made / falsely completed / falsely altered / issued / possessed) a <insert type of written instrument> [<insert only if the allegation is issuing or possessing> that (he/she) knew to have been forged], and 2) (he/she) intended to (deceive / defraud / injure) another person.

If you unanimously find that the state has proved beyond a reasonable doubt each of the elements of the crime of forgery in the first degree, 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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