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MARCH 25, 2016 Release Number: 16-127

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:

  • knowingly failed to report a defect and unreasonable risk of serious injury to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) with dehumidifiers sold under 13 different brand names, including Frigidaire, GE, Gree, Kenmore and Soleus Air, as required by federal law;
  • knowingly made misrepresentations to CPSC staff during its investigation; and
  • sold dehumidifiers bearing the UL safety certification mark knowing that the dehumidifiers did not meet UL flammability standards.

Read more...

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.

Read more... 

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

SUMMARY:

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.

CONSEQUENCE:

The corrosion may result in the battery positive cable overheating, increasing the risk of a fire.

Click here for details.

Description

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.

SUMMARY:

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.

CONSEQUENCE:

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may increase the risk of a fire.

Click here for details.

The Goal is Truth

By Paul Francois & Enrique Garcia
Third Degree Communications

When testifying in court as to the manner in which we conducted an interview, defense counsel will often ask us whether we just wanted his client to "confess." We answer that we do not seek confessions  but rather truth. After all, no good cop is interested in false information, only truthful information. That is why our motto at Third Degree Communications is "Nothing but the Truth."

One little tidbit we impart on our students to help convey this concept is by reminding them that if obtaining the truth is their ultimate goal, then they should be doing nothing that might prevent them from obtaining the truth. For example, getting angry with a subject who is lying would most likely sever rapport and interfere with accomplishing the goal of obtaining the truth. Raising my voice, insulting him, or speaking to him in a condescending manner are all most likely going to be rapport killers that will stymie my ability to get to a successful and truthful outcome with the subject. If we want to get people to provide us with truthful information, we should avoid doing anything that will interfere with accomplishing this goal.

This actually applies to many areas of our lives if we think about it. Let's say I've made a new year's resolution to avoid gossiping about other people. There are several steps I can and should consider that will help me accomplish this goal, including but not limited to:

  •  Avoiding certain people who I know thrive on gossip
  • Not asking certain questions that are more likely to lead to gossip, such as "Who did that?" "What are you guys talking about?" "What happened next?"
  • Excusing myself from conversations that turn in the direction of gossip

In the same manner, if my goal is to obtain truthful information, I must only engage in behavior that's more likely to help me accomplish this goal and to avoid behavior that will interfere: 

  • Treating people with dignity and respect
  • Manipulating my tone of voice to maximize my effectiveness
  • Establishing rapport
  • Being a compassionate, empathetic listener
  • Projecting an image of being non-judgmental and accepting

 

Getting people to tell the truth means creating an environment that is conducive to helping them cooperate. Obtaining our goal means everything that I say and do is oriented toward achieving that goal. It's a remarkably simple concept, but a critical one to remember throughout the interview.

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