Saturday, March 30, 2013

NFPA 921 helps secure reversal of an unfair Arson conviction

When Joseph Awe was originally prosecuted for burning down JJ's Bar, the state in conjunction with Mt. Morris Insurance Company used the theory of investigation known as 'negative corpus' to determine that the fire was intentionally set.  Never mind that Joe had a solid alibi or that the state relied on an electrical engineer hired by Mt. Morris, who failed to discover serious deficiencies in the electrical panel in the room where the fire started.  This injustice was finally put back to square one by Judge Richard Wright who concluded that Joseph Awe was entitled to a new trial because NFPA 921 in 2011 had concluded that 'negative corpus' should never be used to determine whether a fire was incendiary or not.

Dee Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal has written a series of pieces detailing the history of the Joseph Awe case and other wrongful arson prosecutions in the State of Wisconsin.  A link to the stories can be accessed here:

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