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Commonwealth v. Cali

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
141 N.E. 510 (1923)


Facts

Sebastiano Cali (defendant) was convicted of burning a building with the intent to injure the insurer, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, § 10. The building was owned by Maria Cali and was insured against loss or damage caused by fire. Cali’s statements to the police inspector about the start and extent of the fire were introduced at trial, in addition to Cali’s witness testimony, which established that he fled from the building, and did not call for help or set off any alarms. The jury was instructed that a person can be guilty of violating § 10 if, after an accidental fire has been set, that person then forms an intent to injure the insurance company and does not extinguish the fire even though he has the ability to do so. Cali appealed his conviction, presenting exceptions to the court’s denial of his motion for directed verdict and to rulings made at trial.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Braley, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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