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Articles Posted in Arson

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Arson charges in California are prosecuted pursuant to Penal Code Section 451. The critical elements of the crime of arson are:

(1) Did the defendant set fire to or burned (or counseled, helped or cause the burning of) a structure, forest, land or property?

(2) Did he or she act willfully and maliciously?

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On August 15, 2012 Mr. Rickie Lee Fowler – the man who was accused of starting a fire in San Bernardino that led to 5 people to die from heart attacks – was convicted of five counts of first degree murder (PC 187) and two counts of arson (PC 451), and he faces the possibility of being sentenced to the death penalty in California. In addition, the death penalty phase of Mr. Folwer’s trial starts Monday, August 20, 2012.

This case is a tragedy for all concerned. We feel for the victims and their families, for they clearly have suffered.

However, this case is a clear example of why the death penalty must be abolished in California.

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In California, arson is considered a particularly heinous crime, especially during the summer when wildfires grab national headlines every year. Arson is a complicated matter with varying levels of severity in punishments for each case. There are many factors to consider, including the circumstances of the accused and the type of damage caused. It is important to be thorough and know the procedures regarding arson cases.

In California, arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning of a structure, forest, or land. In many arson cases, our law firm can successfully defend the case by being able to show that the accused did not act maliciously or willfully to set the fire. The start of many fires can be disputed and often can be caused by neglectful actions or by pure accident. The accused may lack specific intent to actually start a fire, cause the fire by accident, or be intoxicated. These defenses may be available to you, but you must consult with an attorney to review your case.

A defendant can be charged with either simple arson or aggravated arson. Simple arson will be charged when a defendant willfully and maliciously set fire to or burned a structure, forest, land, or property.

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Babatunsin Olukunle has been arrested for setting a fire in the Angeles National Forest near where the Station Fire originated. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Liam Gallagher stated they are now also investigating into whether Olukenle has any connections to the Station Fire that was started 6 days later.

Olukunle was seen by two Forest Service Officers setting a smaller fire six miles from where the Station Fire was started, however, he escaped while they worked to extinguish the blaze. There had also been reports that Olukunle had been known to roam that area in the months prior to the Station Fire. Olukunle, who is a Nigerian national, has pleaded not guilty to the felony charge of setting a fire on U.S. Forest Service Land.

If you have any questions or concerns on this matter or any other criminal matter, please call Wallin & Klarich today! We have experienced, knowledgeable arson defense attorneys available to answer your calls 7 days a week, 24 hours a day! For over 30 years, Wallin & Klarich has been in the business of vigorously representing clients with their criminal matters in their time of need and we would like to help you with yours! Contact the experienced Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers at Wallin & Klarich today at 1-888-280-6839 or www.wklaw.com for a consultation of your case.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.