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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78455 Find in a Library
Title: Arson Seminar - Prosecution's Preparation of the State's Case
Author(s): Anonymous
Date Published: 1978
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Format: Film
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This videotape presents a lecture by Kevin Hughes, an assistant in the prosecution office of Bronx County, N.Y., who explains his experience and knowledge in prosecuting arson cases to the National College of District Attorneys.
Abstract: Most arson cases are prosecuted as circumstantial evidence cases. In preparing a case for trial, the prosecutor should begin at the fire scene itself, with the fire marshal's information. Care should be taken in presenting the marshal as an expert witness. The testimony should cover the fire investigator's reasons for ruling out accidential causes. Wherever possible, photographs should be used to help the jury understand the extent of the fire's damage. Samples taken at the fire scene are essential to a strong case. Specific types of fires are discussed from the perspective of prosecuting the defendant, who often can be charged with reckless endangerment as well as arson. The speaker discusses who should testify and why, and how prosecutors can bring images of the fire to the jurors' eyes to make them realize the fire's impact in terms of human life and damage. The three main elements to establish in a prosecution investigation are how the fire was set, that the defendant set the fire, and the motive (why the defendant set the fire). The ramifications of several court rulings are discussed, including the Michigan v. Tyler decision and the Sibbles case in New York. Questions and answers occur during the seminar.
Index Term(s): Arson investigations; Audiovisual aids; District attorneys; Insurance fraud
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. This is 2 videocassettes, part I and part II, total running time 75 minutes, color.
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