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Criminal - Arson / Burglary

Amanda was at home and turned on the TV to watch the eleven o'clock news. She heard someone on her porch. Thinking it was her fiancé, she opened the front door. On her porch was a strange man who demanded she let him in the house. When she refused, he pulled out a gun. Amanda, fearful of her life, let him in. Once inside, he searched the house for valuables, took her engagement ring and cash from a drawer. He then left the house

1. Has this man committed common law burglary?
2. What result if the incident took place at 3:00 p.m. not 11:00 p.m.?

Curtis was drunk when he decided to drive from the bar to his home outside of town. On his way out of town, Curtis flung his lit cigarette butt out the window of his vehicle. The cigarette caused a huge forest fire that destroyed many homes. The fire was finally put out by a heavy storm three days later.

3. Can Curtis be convicted of arson?

Nicolena hated her next-door neighbor. Plotting to burn down the neighbor's house (so that he would move away), Nicolena planted an explosive device on the wall of the neighbor's home. The plan was that device would explode, and the house would then catch fire and burn down. The device was set off and it did explode. It caused extensive damage, but it did not actually cause anything to catch fire.

4. Can Nicolena be found guilty of arson?
5. Is there any other crime for which she could be prosecuted?

Solution Preview

1. Has this man committed common law burglary?

-- He has committed aggravated burglary. With common law burglary, we need to fulfill the "breaking" part, which cannot constitute walking through an open door. However, because he was armed and removed property that was Amanda's, he will be charged with aggravated burglary/ Each element of armed robbery is satisfied (see references/ resources).

2. What result if the incident took place at 3:00 p.m. not 11:00 p.m.?

Under common law, burglary was specifically committed at night. Over the years, this has been changed to include anytime of the day or night. Under common law, the crime had to take place at night, when most people were known to be sleeping, or else it wouldn't have been ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains each of the arson and burglary cases presented. A thorough explanation is provided. References are also included.

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