Leadership

Recognition, Protection of Evidence Are Basic Steps to Arson Prosecution

Issue 8 and Volume 131.

Recognition, Protection of Evidence Are Basic Steps to Arson Prosecution features There is a long established judicial requirement that the corpus delicti of the crime of arson must be established before prosecution can take place. It follows that if an arsonist is to be successfully prosecuted, it is necessary that an early identification of the incendiary origin of the fire be made, followed by step-by-step photographing of physical evidence and the preservation of that evidence for laboratory examination. When we speak of evidence, we refer to specific objects—physical, tangible indications of arson. We are not concerned with abstractions, inferences and theories, althougk we know that these may become important as an investigation proceeds. In an arson investigation, we look for something that will help solve this crime and also aid the prosecution of the person responsible. We usually find this evidence at, or closely connected to, the point of origin…

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