CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wildfires and Felony Murder

The A.P. story can be found at It addresses the decision to charge the arsonist who started a wildfire with murder in several deaths by heart attack. Robert Weisberg (Stanford Law School) is quoted as saying that " the judge could conceivably say I'm not even going to give this to the jury ... because it's too hard to say the fire actually caused the deaths."
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I see no problem as long as the promimate cause of the fires was the death of these people. What's the difference between pointing a gun at someone with heart problems during a robbery that subsequently dies and intentionally starting a fire that causes death. Would it make any difference if the men were killed by fire? Either felony murder is the law or it's not. That's a legislative choice.

Posted by: Casey OBrien | Oct 23, 2009 2:07:13 PM

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