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Breaking Legal Developments

10-01-2001

Published by:
Peter A. Lynch, Esq.
of Cozen O'Connor
palynch@cozen.com
http://www.cozen.com

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:      This weekly newsletter covers:

  1. Eighth Circuit Upholds Definition of Arson Includes Burning of Car


(1) EIGHTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS DEFINITION OF ARSON INCLUDES BURNING OF CAR

In U.S. v. Auginash, (pdf format) No. 00-3206 (Oct. 2, 2001) the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the defendant's conviction for arson of a motor vehicle. After a domestic dispute officers were called to the scene. The defendant threatened again to harm the victim. Later, the officers drove past the victim's home and saw a car on fire. The fire was extinguished and the victim's body was recovered from the trunk of the car.

The defendant challenged his conviction claiming 18 U.S.C. section 81 which defines arson and does not mention the word motor vehicle, only machinery. The court disagreed finding the inclusion of automobiles in the ordinary meaning of "machinery" was appropriate citing Webster's New International Dictionary. The burning of an automobile constitutes arson under section 81 and his conviction was affirmed.

Mr. Lynch can be reached at Cozen and O'Connor, 501 West Broadway, Suite 1610, San Diego, California 92101, 800-782-3366 (voice), 619-234-7831 (fax), palynch@cozen.com (e-mail), http://www.cozen.com. Follow us on Twitter at @firesandrain.

Please direct comments, suggestions, stories, and other items to the author by e-mail at palynch@cozen.com

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