May It Please the Court® A Weblog of Legal News & Observations
Quote of the Day - I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place. - Steven Wright

Can You Pay Back These Fines?

There you are, out wandering (let's say patrolling) the Arizona forest during high fire season. You're a U.S. Forest Service Forestry Technician. You get a letter from your estranged husband earlier that morning. You're upset. Very upset. What do you do with the letter?

Of course. You burn it. In a campfire ring. In the middle of one of the hottest summers on record. During the highest possible fire danger. The fire gets away from you, and you report it. Not surprisingly, they ask you how it started.

You lie about it.

Next thing you know, you owe $42.2 million in fire suppression costs, $14.7 million of which was upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Plus 12 years in state prison, and 6 years in federal prison. At least you get to serve the sentences concurrently.

Plus, they took your matches away. Go figure.

Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, May 10, 2004


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