arson

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arson,

at common lawcommon law,
system of law that prevails in England and in countries colonized by England. The name is derived from the medieval theory that the law administered by the king's courts represented the common custom of the realm, as opposed to the custom of local jurisdiction that
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, the malicious and willful burning of the house of another. Originally, it was an offense against the security of habitation rather than against property rights. Thus, a tenant could not be convicted of arson for burning the house that he rented from his landlord. Although this rule still holds in some states of the United States, in many others statutes have changed the meaning of the offense. Its application has been extended to buildings, structures, and vehicles that are not dwelling places, and greater stress has been placed on protection of property rights. Some statutes distinguish several degrees of arson, e.g., arson committed at night is considered more serious than arson committed in the daytime. In most states setting fire to one's own property to defraud an insurance company is specified as arson.

arson

Criminal law the act of intentionally or recklessly setting fire to another's property or to one's own property for some improper reason
References in periodicals archive ?
The government is offering an award of up to pounds 650,000 for anyone providing information leading to the arrest "of members of a criminal organisation that is seeking to carry out arson in forests, or of deliberate arsonists.
On Monday 16 people had to be rescued from Y Gorlan in Maes-y-Felin on Bridgend's Wildmill estate, when arsonists pushed a sofa into the ground-floor hall and set it alight.
PSNI Inspector Ian Harrison said the arsonists forced their way into the hall through a window.
The home was one of six in the area targeted by arsonists in the early hours, including four neighbouring bungalows in The Terraces and a house in Emerson Terrace.
Until, that is, someone sparked his interest in the true story of a Glendale firefighter considered the most prolific American arsonist of the 20th century.
Between 1996 and 1997, West Midlands Police secured 255 convictions for arson - about five per cent of the total number of arsonists responsible for blazes.
Over the last three years, through joint investigations between the brigade and Cleveland Police, arsonists have received prison sentences ranging from 12 months to five years.
Mr Stevens warned arsonists every effort would be made to track them down and bring them to justice.
ARSONISTS set fire to eight wheelie bins in one night.
A HEADTEACHER who helped rebuild a Knowsley school after arsonists burned it to the ground is to retire.
ARSONISTS targeted a Coventry garage while the owners were away on holiday.
ARSONISTS were last night being blamed for a blaze which swept though a North Wales workshop.