WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Gree Electric Appliances Inc., of Zhuhai, China; Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd., of Hong Kong; and Gree USA Sales Ltd., of City of Industry, Calif., have agreed to pay a $15.45 million civil penalty to the government.
The penalty settles charges that Gree:
Barber v. State
Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/26/2012, 11/5/2012) A12A1624
CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Arson, Accident, Jury Charges, Intent, Insurance Fraud
Alert: The statute defining first degree arson, OCGA § 16-7-60 (a) (3), does not require that the accused set the fire with the intent to defraud the insurer, only that the accused knowingly damage[d] by fire or explosive any insured dwelling without the insured's consent.
Headnote: The Court of Appeals affirmed Kelvin D. Barber Jr.'s conviction for first degree arson, as the evidence supported it. The Court held that the trial court did not erred in failing to charge the jury on Barber's sole defense of accident. Barber argued that he did not have the requisite intent under OCGA § 16-7-60 (a) (3) because he set the fire in order to commit suicide, not to burn or damage the house or cause loss to the insurer. He further argued that the evidence was insufficient to show that he set the fire knowing it would spread to or cause damage to other parts of the house. But the Court explained that § 16-7-60 (a) (3) does not require that the accused set the fire with the intent to defraud the insurer, only that the accused knowingly damage[d] any insured dwelling without the insured's consent by fire or explosive. Here, the evidence, including Barber's statement to the fire investigators, showed that Barber: poured gasoline and lighter fluid throughout the house and garage, and not just on his person, ripped up books and papers and spread them throughout the upper levels of the house as well, and told investigators that he intended for the house to burn, in addition to the vehicle he was inside. Barber also argued that the trial court should have charged the jury on his sole defense of accident, arguing that there was at least slight evidence to warrant the charge. But the Court found that the trial court's charge, given pursuant to Barber's request at trial, included the accident theory of defense.
From Out of the Abyss...
This week's article is from the June 1950 Vol V, No. 5 issue of the California Conference of Arson Investigators newsletter and was written by Lowell W. Bradford.
Physical Evidence Aspects of Fire Investigation
Bugatti is recalling certain model year 2006-208 Veyron vehicles manufactured October 3, 2006, to December 22, 2006. In the affected vehicles, the positive battery (B+) cable and the connection to the alternator may corrode.
The corrosion may result in the battery positive cable overheating, increasing the risk of a fire.
Click here for details.
This recall involves Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Snow Blowers. Item number RY40802 is printed on the data label on the back of the blowers. The snow blowers are black and green with two LED lights located on the front of the unit and are approximately 22 inches wide by 43 inches tall. “RYOBI” is printed on the front of the snow blowers. The models included in this recall are RY40802, RY40802A and RY40822. The model numbers are printed on the packaging. “40 V” is printed on each side of the snow blowers.
Go to CPSC for more details.
Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC (Jaguar) is recalling certain model year 2010 Jaguar XF vehicles manufactured December 17, 2008, to April 15, 2009. The affected vehicles have a fuel tank with an outlet flange that may crack, allowing fuel to leak onto the ground.
A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may increase the risk of a fire.
Cathleen E. Corbitt-Dipierro
Stonehouse Media Incorporated
Smartphones are quickly taking over the US cellular phone hardware market — iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Palm, just to name a few brands. With their advanced computing capability, smartphones are enabling users to perform more and more tasks on their phone than just the simple calling and texting. This computing power is harnessed by “apps,” which are application software programs used on smartphones.
For the fire investigator, the smartphone can become a handy tool in your daily work, but only if you know how to outfit it. This article highlights some of the core apps that fire investigators can use every day to assist in managing their investigative and administrative work. One caution before we begin: the investigator should be aware that any investigative information kept on your smartphone is not secure and also may be discoverable in a future legal proceeding. For that reason, we’ve confined the discussion of apps in this article to those where case-based investigative information is not stored or shared. At all times, exercise the utmost caution with investigative information.
Most weather apps have auto location based on the GPS signal from your phone, meaning that the app knows where you are and provides the weather data for that location. You can also lookup weather for a different area and program a favorites list for different locations you travel to repeatedly. Mapping Mapping applications, many of which are GPS-based, have both administrative and investigative value. Using the GPS in the phone and the mapping app, you are able to:
Mapping can also be used in other apps that help you find traffic, tides, mass transit, or parking information.
Remember that any information gleaned from one of these apps should be verified with another source. Roads change, streets are temporarily closed, and other events occur that may make the situation on the ground not the same as it is in a published map.
Administrative Management There are a wide variety of management and productivity apps that can help you organize your daily tasks, including:
Take a little time to think about the administrative tasks you do every day and then search the available apps for your device to see what’s out there to help you manage and streamline the administrative process. Incident Management There are several Incident Command System apps that can help the investigator handle large incidents, including the National Incident Management System (NIMS) components, concepts, and planning forms. Some of the ICS apps also provide an interactive look at the chain of command structure, which can assist with proper reporting at the scene. Scene Safety There are a number of apps available, and more are under development, that assist the investigator in working safely at the scene. Some examples of currently available scene safety apps include:
These apps can assist in identifying hazards at the scene and provide information on how to respond to the identified hazard.
Locators There are a number of locator apps available that can help the investigator find businesses nearby. Some locator apps also provide ratings and reviews for these businesses. A locator app works by using the GPS in the smartphone to determine your location, and then searching a database of nearby businesses that fit the criteria you enter, which is typically a category of business or government, and sometimes augmented with additional search filters, such as distance, price, or number of “stars.” These locator apps can be extremely helpful when you are not familiar with the location and can assist you in both physical comfort and investigative ways.
Some examples of what you can find with locator apps include:
There are also people locator apps, including offender and sex offender locator apps.
You should be aware that the locator app databases may not be definitive or complete and any information should always be confirmed with another source.
There are thousands of apps and more are being released every day. Set aside some time to browse through the apps available for your smartphone and think through how they might assist you in the field. Be sure to keep your apps up to date and periodically look for new apps that have been released and may be beneficial to you. Put your smartphone to work for you and you can work more efficiently, safely, and thoroughly.
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