Friday, October 11, 2013

People v. David R. (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 10, 2013)

The California Court of Appeal hasn't published anything yet today.  And the Ninth Circuit's opinion site has been spotty:  I haven't been able to get it to load thus far.  So yesterday I blamed my employer, and today, I will blame the courts.

In the meantime, let's ask a difficult epistomological question:  How does one decide whether a 13-year old child had sufficient "malice" in his heart to qualify under the arson statute?

Do 13-year olds play with lighters?  Yes.  Do they light things on fire?  Certainly.  When they do so, and a building burns, can we really say with any degree of certainty that they "intended" to burn a building?

Perhaps.  Sometimes.

Read this opinion, in which the Court of Appeal holds that malice was sufficiently established.  See if you agree.

Trying to look into the hearts and minds of children is far from an easy task.