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Arson

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ARSON (Lat. ardere, to burn). The licious burning of the house of another. Co.

3d Inst. 60; Bish. Cr. L. § 415; 4 Bla. Conk 220; Curran's Case, 7 Gratt. (Va.) 639; Ritchey v. State, 7 Blackf. (Ind.) 168; Mary v. State, 24 Ark. 44, 81 Am. Dec. 60; 1 Leach, Cr. Cas. 218; People v. Fisher, 51 Cal. 319; Young v. Corn., 12 Bush (Ky.) 243 ; but it is not arson to demolish the house first and then burn the material; Mulligan v. State, 25 Tex. App. 199, 7 S. W. 664, 8 Am. St Rep. 435.

In some states by statute there are degrees of arson. The house, or some part of it, however small, must be consumed by fire ; 9 C. & P. 45; Com. v. Van Schaack, 16 Mass. 105; State v. Mitchell, 27 N. C. 350. Where the house is simply scorched or smoked and the fire is not communicated to the building ; Woolsey v. State, 30 Tex. App. 346, 17 S. W. 546; or where parts of a house already de tached are burned; Mulligan v. State, 25 Tex. App. 199, 7 S. W. 664, 8 Am. St. Rep. 435; it is not arson; nor where a house was blown up by dynamite and splinters were torn from the roof and by the explo sion; Landers v. State, 39 Tex. Cr..R. 671, 47 S. W. 1008 ; 12 Harv. L. Rev. 433. The question of burning is one of fact for the jury ; 1 Mood. Cr. Cas. 398; Coro. v. Betton, 5 Cush. (Mass.) 427.

It must be anther's house; 1 Bish. Cr. Law § 389; but °liter under the N. H. stat ute; State v. Hurd, 51 N. H. 176; but if a man set fire to his own house with a view to burn his neighbor's, and does so, it is, at least, a great misdemeanor ; 1 Hale, Pl. Cr. 568; W. Jones 351; Bloss v. Tobey, 2 Pick. (Mass.) 325; Erskine v. Corn., 8 Gratt. (Va.) 624. See People v. Henderson, 1 Park. Cr. Cas. (N. Y.) 560; People v. Van Blarcum, 2 Johns. (N. Y.) 105; Ritchey v. State, 7 Blackf. (Ind.) 168; and under statutes in some states a tenant who sets fire to a house occupied by himself is guilty of the crime ; State v. Moore, 61 Mo. 276; People v. Simp son, 50 Cal. 304. If one sets fire to a school house with the intention of burning an ad joining dwelling, which actually happens, he is guilty of arson; Combs v. Com., 93 Ky. 313, 20 S. W. 221.

The house of another must be burned, to constitute arson at common law ; but the term "house" comprehends not only the very mansion-house, but all out-houses which are parcel thereof, though not contiguous to it, nor under the same roof, such as the barn, stable, cow-house, sheep-house, dairy-house, mill-house, and the like, being within the curtilage, or same common fence, as the man sion itself ; 4 C. & P. 245; State v. McGow an, 20 Conn. 245, 52 Am. Dec. 336; People

v. Butler, 16 Johns. (N. Y.) 203,; State v. Sandy, 25 N. C. 570 ; Chapman v. Com., 5 Whart. (Pa.) 427, 34 Am. Dec. 565; Stevens v. Com., 4 Leigh (Va.) 683 ; Corn. v. Posey, 4 Call (Va.) 109, 2 Am. Dec. 560; State v. Roper, 88 N. C. 656 ; Quinn v. People, 71 N. Y. 561, 27 Am. Rep. 87; Ratekin v. State, 26 Ohio St 420. And it has also been said that the burning of a barn, though no part of the mansion, if it has corn or hay in it, is felony at common law ; 1 Hale, P. C. 567 ; 4 C. & P. 245; Sampson v. Com., 5 W. & S. (Pa.) 385 ; contra, Creed v. People, 81 Ill. 505. In Massachusetts, the statute refers to the dwelling-house strictly; Com. v. Barney, 10 Cush. (Mass.) 478. Where a prisoner set fire to his cell, in order to effect an escape, held, not arson ; People v. Cotteral, 18 Johns. (N. Y.) 115; but see 1 Whart. Cr. L. (9th ed.) § 829; Luke v. State, 49 Ala. 30, 20 Am. Rep.. 269; Willis v. State, 32 Tex. Cr. R. 534, 25 S. W. 123. The burning must have been both malicious and wilful; 1 Bishop, Cr. L. § 259; Maxwell v. State, 68 Miss. 339, 8 South. 546. And generally, if the act is proved to have been done wilfully, it may be inferred to have been done maliciously, un less the contrary is proved; 1 Russ. & R. Cr. Cas. 26. On a charge of arson for setting fire to a mill, an intent to injure or defraud the mill-owners will be conclusively inferred from the wilful act of firing ; 2 B. & C. 264. But this doctrine can only arise where the act is wilful, and therefore, if the fire ap pears to be the result of accident, the party who is the cause of it will not be liable; Jenkins v. State, 53 Ga. 33, 31 Am. Rep. 255 ; McDonald v. People, 47 III. 533.

In some states by statute a wife may be guilty of arson by burning a husband's prop erty ; Emig v. Daum, 1 Ind. App. 146, 27 N. E. 322.

It is a felony at common law, and origi nally punishable with death; Co. 3d Inst. 66; 2 East Pl. Cr. 1015; Sampson v. Com., 5 W. & S. (Pa.) 385 ; State v. Seaborn, 15 N. C. 305; but this is otherwise by statute ; State v. Bosse, 8 Rich. (S. C.) 276 ; Com. v. Posey, 4 Call (Va.) 109, 2 Am. Dec. 560; II. S. v. White, 5 Cra. C. C. 73, Fed. Cas. No. 16,676. If homicide result, the act is murder ; State v. Cooper, 13 N. J. L. 361, 25 Am. Dec. 490; 1 Bish. Cr. Law 361.

It is not an indictable offence at common law to burn one's own house to defraud in surers; 1 Whart. Cr. L. (9th ed.) § 843; otherwise in most states by statute; State v. Hurd, 51 N. H. 176; Shepherd v. People, 19 N. Y. 537 ; People v. Schwartz, 32 Cal. 160. See CRIMES.