Leadership

Evidence Necessary to Convict for Arson

Issue 7 and Volume 95.

Evidence Necessary to Convict for Arson FREQUENTLY municipal officials become entangled in litigations involving the crime of arson. A most important consideration is the character of the testimony necessary to obtain a valid conviction. Recently, the higher courts have rendered several unusually important decisions on variations of the modern law on this subject. Therefore, we shall review these interesting cases. It is well known that a person may be convicted of the crime of arson upon presentation of the proper kind of circumstantial evidence. However, a conviction on this basis is illegal, unless the testimony proves “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the accused is guilty. Otherwise the higher court will reverse the lower court’s conviction. Definite Evidence Required For illustration, in Shephard v. Commonwealth, 158 S.W. 2d 643, reported February, 1942, it was shown that a barn owned by John Hughes burned about 11 o’clock on the night of March…

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