(Arson, lectlaw, n.d).
Chapter 806.01 of the Florida Statutes, considers a person guilty of arson if that person wilfully and unlawfully or while in the commission of a felony by fire or explosion damages or causes to be damaged any structure, or structure in which people are usually present for example - jails, prisons, hospitals, department stores, offices, churches, educational institutions, during the time when these are occupied as also, the damaging by these means of any structure which this person knows is occupied. Such a person is deemed to be guilty of arson in the first degree. This constitutes a felony of the first degree, punishable as per the provisions of sections 775.082, 775.083 or 775.084. These Statutes further, state that a person who commits an act of arson which results in physical harm to any other person, irrespective of intent to cause such harm, is considered to be guilty of misdemeanour of the first degree. This is punishable under sections 775.082 and 775.083. (The 2005 Florida Statutes n.d). According to this definition intent is not an important criterion in deciding whether a person is guilty of arson or not. In the case under consideration the accused agreed that he had applied a flame to the canvas litters. He stated that he did this to determine whether the canvas litters were fire proof or not.
Though he had no intention of causing harm to anyone or any property he wilfully started the fire. As per the Statutes he is guilty of arson. As a consequence of this fire one person died due to asphyxiation while others were injured. In view of the above, John Notthink is guilty of arson of the first degree and is punishable under sections 775.082, 775.083 and 775.084 for first degree arson, which is a felony of the first degree. To prove an arson charge it is sufficient if it can be established that the accused person had intentionally started the fire. This is established even if there is no intent to burn a structure and the aim was merely to start a fire. The various categories of arson are first degree - burning of homes, schools and churches; second degree - burning of unoccupied structures and vehicles and third degree arson which involve the burning of personal property. (Arson, criminal law lawyer, n.d).
According to chapter 806 of Florida Statutes, any person who wilfully and unlawfully or while in the commission of any felony, by fire or explosion, damages or causes to be damaged any building or dwelling is guilty of arson in the first degree. "As per the proviso (a) to subsection (1) the damage may be of any dwelling irrespective of whether it is occupied or not. According to subsection (b) damage may be in respect of any structure and contents thereof, where persons are normally present, such as jails, prisons, detention centres, hospitals, nursing homes or other health care facilities; department stores, office buildings, etc, which that person knew or had reasonable grounds to believe was occupied". (The 2005 Florida Statutes, n.d).
This is punishable as per the provisions of section 775.082, 775.083 and 775.084. Section 775.082 deals with the various applicable penalties. Capital felony attracts the death penalty, for a life felony committed prior to 01-10-1983, the sentence will be for life imprisonment or for a term not less than 30 years and