A, a law student, is anxious about her
upcoming final exams. The exams begin in two days, but due to a longtime
procrastination habit A has been unable to kick, she has not started studying
yet. In a desperate attempt to buy herself some time, she decides to burn down
the law school.
To that end, A brings flammable material
and matches with her to the law school, and she sneaks into the law school
basement through a door left unlocked. She puts down her materials and lights
up a cigarette to celebrate her ingenious plan before she puts it into action.
As she’s lighting her cigarette, she hears a noise, so she reflexively drops
the match and the cigarette on the floor. The now-lit cigarette falls on top of
the flammable material and ignites it. A quickly runs away from the building,
making no effort to put out the fire or alert the fire department. The entire
law school is destroyed in the resulting fire.
In a common-law jurisdiction, A is
arrested and charged with arson. Arson is defined as “starting a fire on a
property and intentionally placing the property in danger of damage or
destruction.” In this jurisdiction, “intentionally”
is defined as “possessing a conscious objective to engage in the prohibited
conduct or cause the prohibited result.”
Assume the prosecution could prove the
above facts at A’s trial. Also assume that this jurisdiction does not have a Good Samaritan statute that
requires people to act in order to prevent arson.
- Is A liable for arson? Explain.
Is A liable for arson? Explain.