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 ?
There are urgent reasons for learning all we can about fire-raising in view of the indiscriminate threat its commission poses to life and property in a civilized society.
About 40 detectives are working on a manhunt to stop the fire-raising duo, while a pounds 16,000 reward for information has been put up by victims.
They cover seven groups: violence, sexual crime, dishonesty, fire-raising and malicious damage, drugs and weapons, petty assaults and anti-social behaviour and motoring offences.
Each recorded 16 separate fire-raising incidents over the last two years.
A FIRE-RAISING pensioner who risked his elderly neighbours' lives was jailed for 16 months yesterday.
Another 20 pupils have been arrested on suspicion of fire-raising, drug offences and breach of the peace.
PRO-SMOKING campaigner Joanna Lumley has confessed to fire-raising - in a New York bar.
Carmen Cairns, 28, who pled guilty to fire-raising, set a mattress on a landing alight after falling out with her family last July.
Lord Watson is eight weeks into a sixteen month jail sentence for fire-raising - he is expected to serve eight months.
The number of young women with criminal records for vandalism and fire-raising is also at an all-time high and the number caught with guns has soared.
Police are treating the incident as wilful fire-raising and attempted murder.
LABOUR claim voters in the Cathcart by-election will not punish them for Lord Watson's fire-raising shame.