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Law & Order

Arson Conviction For 11-Year-Old Jacksonville Boy Overturned

Wood and Fire
Fancy Horse via Flickr
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An 11-year-old Jacksonville boy’s arson conviction has been overturned. A state appeals court dismissed the incident as a child’s “poor judgment,” rather than a crime.

About a year ago, the unidentified 11-year-old was playing with a blowtorch in his backyard, and things got out of hand. When he used aerosol lubricant to light a fan on fire, flames spread and swallowed a nearby shed.

As the Florida News Service reports, prosecutors in the case relied heavily on the fact that the boy initially lied to investigators before admitting what happened. But in overturning the verdict, the First District appeals court writes that lying is exactly what a scared child would do after making a bad mistake. The opinion also focused on intent, saying the state failed to prove the kid’s actions were certain to burn down a building.

Photo: "Fire #1" used under Creative Commons license.