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Criminal Jury Instructions

Criminal Jury Instructions Home

7.2-1  Constancy of Accusation

Revised to May 20, 2011

The complainant testified here in court before you.  You may use (his/her) testimony as evidence and proof of the facts asserted in that testimony and give it the weight you find is reasonable.

The state offered evidence of out-of-court statements made by the complainant to other persons that the defendant sexually assaulted (him/her).  Those persons to whom the state alleges that (he/she) made such statements are:  <identify the witnesses>. Under our law, the testimony of these witnesses was limited in its scope to the fact and timing of the complainant's complaint, the time and place of the alleged sexual assault(s) and the identity of the alleged perpetrator. Each of these people testified as to the statements the complainant made to each of them regarding the defendant sexually assaulting (him/her). 

This evidence is to be considered by you only in determining the weight and credibility you will give the complainant's testimony as it pertains to the charge(s) of sexual assault.1  This evidence of out-of-court statements by the complainant of a sexual assault against (him/her) by the defendant is not to be considered by you to prove the truth of the matter asserted in those out-of-court statements.

In determining whether or not these out-of-court statements corroborate the complainantís testimony in court, you should consider all of the circumstances under which they were made and to whom and whether the statements made to these persons were or were not consistent with the complainantís testimony in court.

If you find any delay in (his/her) reporting the alleged incidents, you may consider such delay and any reasons which you may find for such delay in evaluating (his/her) testimony given in court.

To the extent you find that what (he/she) has said outside the courtroom is consistent with (his/her) testimony in court, you may find (his/her) testimony in court to be corroborated or supported with respect to the fact and timing of (his/her) complaint, the time and place of the alleged sexual assault(s) and the identity of the alleged perpetrator.  To the extent you find that what (he/she) has said outside the courtroom is inconsistent with (his/her) testimony in court, you may consider the degree of inconsistency which you find, and you may consider the reasons which you may find for the inconsistency, in evaluating (his/her) testimony given in court.
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1 "[T]he trial court should consider informing the jury expressly that this evidence may corroborate the complainant's testimony only with respect to a charge of sexual assault."  (Emphasis in original.)  See State v. Farmer, 108 Conn. App. 82, 88, cert. denied, 288 Conn. 914  (2008).

Commentary

See Code of Evidence, ß 6-11 (c); State v. Samuels, 273 Conn. 541, 546-56 (2005); State v. Troupe, 237 Conn. 284 (1996).  "[A] person to whom a sexual assault victim has reported the assault may testify only with respect to the fact and timing of the victim's complaint; any testimony by the witness regarding the details surrounding the assault must be strictly limited to those necessary to associate the victim's complaint with the pending charge, including, for example, the time and place of the attack or the identity of the alleged perpetrator."  Id., 304.  See State v. McKenzie-Adams, 281 Conn. 486, 533-44 (2007) (reviewing the history and purpose of the constancy of accusation doctrine).

A limiting instruction may be given at the time a constancy of accusation witness testifies.  See, e.g., State v. Martin V., 102 Conn. App. 381, 393 n.11, cert. denied, 284 Conn. 911 (2007).

 


 

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