T.P.I. -- CRIM. 42.21
INFERENCE: THEFT OF RENTAL PROPERTY
With respect to rental property, if evidence is presented:
(1) that the person leasing or renting the property has pawned the
(2) that the person leasing or renting the property pursuant to a written
agreement presents identification to the owner at the time of the
execution of the written agreement and the identification bears a
fictitious name, telephone number or address;
(3) that the person leasing or renting the property pursuant to a written
agreement designating the principal location at which such property is
to be used and specifying the date and time when the same is to be
returned, fails to return the same to such owner on or before such
return date and within ten (10) days after the date of mailing of
written notice to return such property sent by registered or certified
mail, return receipt requested, deliver to addressee only, and the
property is not to be found at the location designated in the lease or
rental agreement as the principal place of use of the property,
then the jury may infer1 that the person intended to deprive the owner of the property.2
1. The trial judge should instruct the jury with respect to inferences. See T.P.I.
-- CRIM. 42.19.
2. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-108(a).
1. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-108 states that "evidence... shall create an inference" of intent to deprive the owner of the rental property. In the Committee's opinion, this may create an improper mandatory presumption. See Carella v. California, 491 U.S. 263, 109 S.Ct. 2419, 105 L.Ed.2d 218 (1989)(presumption that failure to return rental car was theft). The Committee has therefore substituted the word "may" for "shall" to make the inference a permissive one.