Two juveniles set a patch of grass on fire in the drainage ditch of a residential neighborhood. The kids lit it then left it burn, initially running when one of the home owners came running, but then slowed to a walk when they saw him running to the fire.
It was sent over by PD as a Arson, but the the statute requires open space land. I couldn't find much case law detailing that particular section, so I'm not sure how literally that is taken.
It's a drainage ditch, so literally, the land itself is not developed for human habitation, but it's within a residential neighborhood bordered on by houses, fences (attached to those houses), and roads. It's a typical suburban neighborhood, so plenty of houses side by side.
Thanks to the effort of astute neighbors, it was noticed and put out before anything serious happened, but given the populated area and the excessively dry conditions (it happened in August), I don't want to let this one go.
I am still waiting for verification is the land is owned by the city or a property owner.
Is Arson a bit to far? The other possibility I considered is Deadly Conduct since the ditch itself was in a populated area.
Deadly Conduct seems to be the best charge as I read the law. See a previous discussion here.
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