Thursday, June 04, 2009

Generic "Arson" Is Willful and Malicious Burning of Property; Doesn't Require Threat of Harm to a Person

United States v. Velez-Alderete, No. 08-20557 (5th Cir. June 2, 2009) (per curiam) (King, Garwood, Davis)

Various COV definitions include "arson" as an enumerated offense. Ever wondered what generic arson is? Wonder no longer. Velez-Alderete holds, as have other circuits, that "the generic, contemporary definition of arson involves a willful and malicious burning of property[,]" without any requirement that the burning threaten harm to a person. Velez-Alderete further holds that Texas's arson falls within that defintion:
Texas proscribes starting a fire “with intent to destroy or damage” various types of property ranging from structures and vegetation on open-space land to vehicles when the perpetrator knows that the vehicle is insured or when he is reckless concerning the safety of the property of another. All of these variations involve a willful and malicious burning of property.
At least 35 other states' arson statutes fit the bill, as well. Refer to the string cite in footnote 4 if you'd like to know which ones those are.

Labels: , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home