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  • New Illinois Law

    A recently passed law here in Illinois calls for stiffer sentencing for persons convicted of arson involving places of worship. One politician's reasoning is that these fires cause damage to the "whole community".

    Here is my question. Why is it a more serious crime to torch a church, mosque, etc. that to burn a school, government building or strip mall?

    Shouldn't arson sentences be increased across the board?
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

  • #2
    Simple; the reasoning in NJ (The burning of a place of worship is now a first degree crime) was that it is almost always a terrorist type attack and effects a great many people. Ir is almost always an intimidatory or retaliatory act. How many churches do you hear of that are burned for pofit or fun? They are almost always meant to intimidate or attack a specific group.

    If you go to the Arson Clearinghouse section of the USFA website, you will see alot more info on church arson. Hope this helps.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    • #3
      I always learn something new here.

      The information on church arson at the USFA site is very fascinating.

      I still agree with Duffman though, the penalities for arson should be increased across the board (but then you have to catch them first and successfully prosecute them.)
      Last edited by superchef; 07-14-2003, 02:20 PM.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the USFA reference George. Let me ask this. Aren't stores and homes sometimes burned to intimidate? I am sure you have worked cases where there was a racial/cultural motive. If someone torches someones home because they are muslim, is it less of a hate crime than torching their mosque?
        "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

        IACOJ

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        • #5
          If someone torches someones home because they are muslim, is it less of a hate crime than torching their mosque?
          Ok Ill take a crack at this from my LE expierince.

          If you burn a house you affect the people that live there 1-4,but you burn a mosque you affect alot of people, like hundreds. Like if you killed someone it is still murder but you get machine gun and open it up in the mall it is mass murder. It still murder but you affected alot more people but the penalty is far more severe----kinda get what Im saying?

          ---I think it should be the same punishment all across the board to.---

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          • #6
            my opinion, there just doing this to please the religious groups that may have pushed for this. an arson is an arson in my book, and should be prosecuted the same no matter what, meaning that if your gonna raise the penalty for a mosque or any other religious center then you should do the same for the common dwelling or strip mall.
            Firefighter, Volunteering since Oct 2001

            CCFA 05-04, best overall class for 2005
            "GOOD GAME!"

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            • #7
              Amends the Criminal Code of 1961. Creates the offense of place of worship arson, defined as knowingly damaging, partially or totally, a place of worship in the course of committing an arson. Provides that the penalty is a Class 1 felony. Amends the Unified Code of Corrections. Provides that a person convicted of the offense of place of worship arson or residential arson may not be placed in an impact incarceration program. Provides that a person convicted of the offense of place of worship arson may not receive a period of probation, a term of periodic imprisonment, or conditional discharge. Provides that in addition to any other penalty imposed, a fine of $500 shall be imposed upon a person who is convicted of arson, residential arson, or aggravated arson. Provides that the fine shall be distributed to the fire department or fire protection district that suppressed or investigated the fire that was set by the defendant and for which the defendant was convicted of arson, residential arson, or aggravated arson. Provides that the moneys distributed from the additional fine may only be used to purchase fire suppression or fire investigation equipment. Effective immediately.

              Illinois HB 3091
              Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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              *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
              On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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              • #8
                Thanks NJ

                While normally on top of the Illinois General Assembly, I hadn't been able to track down that bill yet. Thanks for the hookup.
                "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

                IACOJ

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Duffman
                  Thanks for the USFA reference George. Let me ask this. Aren't stores and homes sometimes burned to intimidate? I am sure you have worked cases where there was a racial/cultural motive. If someone torches someones home because they are muslim, is it less of a hate crime than torching their mosque?
                  Absolutely not. But, at least in NJ, that type of crime is covered under another section of the statutes.

                  It should also be noted that, in NJ, we charge Aggravated Arson (2nd Degree) along with the First Degree charge. It's actually a seperate crime.
                  PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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