State v. Henkel

In State v. Henkel, 1 Conn. Cir. Ct. 156, 23 Conn. Sup. 135, 136, 177 A.2d 684 (1961), the defendant was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The trial court imposed a fine, which was paid by the defendant on the same day. Id. Subsequently, the defendant appealed from the court's judgment. Id. The issue that confronted the Appellate Division of the Circuit Court in Henkel was whether a defendant who had been found guilty by the court and voluntarily had paid the fine imposed by the court could have his conviction reviewed by an appellate court. Id. The Henkel court held that "the payment of a fine precludes review and . . . terminates the case." Id. at 139. The court acknowledged, relying on other courts' decisions, that it was "precluded from passing upon the substantive question which the defendant attempted to raise. When the defendant paid the fine in full which had been imposed, there was a complete compliance with the sentence of the court; the questions became moot; the matter was at an end, and no right of appeal existed thereafter from the satisfied judgment and sentence." Id. Furthermore, the court recognized that "the fine having been paid, the court could not reopen the judgment . . . since it was satisfied. . . . It is clear that where an act has been done in execution of a sentence, the court is without power to erase the judgment." (Internal quotation marks omitted.) Id. at 138. The court, furthermore, relied on General Statutes (1959 Sup.) 54-13, now General Statutes 54-96a, which provides: "Any person appealing from the judgment of the Superior Court, adjudging him to pay a fine only, may pay the same at any time before the hearing in the Supreme Court or Appellate Court, without further cost, which payment shall vacate the appeal and restore the judgment." General Statutes 54-96a; see State v. Henkel, supra, 23 Conn. Sup. at 138-39. The court, therefore, dismissed the appeal as moot. State v. Henkel, supra, 23 Conn. Sup. at 139.