neilends wrote:Those factors are a lot less compelling as to Nocket, so I'm just pointing out that we shouldn't expect a sentence of 10 years if we use Gregg as the standard.
Looking at the precedent for crimes committed against public lands, including the Gregg case, I agree it would be very unexpected to see Nocket receive a sentence in the 10 year+ range. When I expressed the sentiment of her getting upwards of 10 years, that was definitely and opinion and not an expectation.
I'm not familiar with the actual law on most of this stuff, but it does seem that arson crimes on forested lands are treated similar to arson crimes on homes and other developed properties. Setting a forest fire can have much greater ramifications than simply setting a building on fire. For instance, a typical structural fire will be contained by firefighters within a number of hours and is unlikely to spread beyond the individual building where the fire was set. A wildland arson, if done during the worst conditions, could take weeks or months to contain and would require many, many times the workforce and resources to combat in comparison to a structural fire. Of course, some wildland arsons may result in a small fire that is contained within a few hours, but in the case of Rodeo-Chediski, and arson resulted in a fire many times the magnitude of a typical structural arson. Another factor that makes the two different is the fact that besides "lost memories" of a house fire, the damage from a structural fire can essentially be rebuilt in the form of a new structure. In the case of a large-scale destructive wildland fire, the damage will for the most part be only reversed by the time it takes the forest to heal itself, which is much, much longer than it takes to rebuild a structure.
I was curious what the law says about arson so I googled "minimum sentence for arson". From what I gathered, the federal law stipulates a minimum 5 year sentence and maximum 15 year sentence for arson cases that do not involve a human death. Another bit of information stated that arson crimes fall on a scale of magnitude (similar to that of murder):
First-degree arson - The act in which the arsonist sets fire to an occupied domain or building such as a school.
Second-degree arson - The act in which the arsonist sets fire to an unoccupied building such as an empty barn.
Third-degree arson - The act in which the arsonist sets fire to an abandoned building or an abandoned area of space such as a field.
It seems that setting a forest fire would fall under third-degree arson, which would indicate a less serious crime. Gregg received a 10 year sentence, which falls dead in the middle of the minimum and maximum, which is probably based on the precedents set for third-degree arson and the fact that this was an extreme case of destruction. As I stated above, arson on wildlands can often manifest huge disasters, and Gregg's hand in Rodeo-Chediski I think resulted in much more long-term destruction than almost any structural second-degree arson could have caused. As such, I think that the law should not distiguish between second and third degree arson. Also, I imagine that in most places, especially the eastern US where most of the precedents of law have originated, setting a third-degree arson, such as on a field, would probably not result in much destruction (compared to a typical Western wildfire) due to higher humidity and a greater moisture content in soils and vegetation. As such, an arson committed in the forest of West, especially in the current state of drought conditions and excessive fuel loads, is completely different from the implied definition of third-degree arson. Essentially, I think Gregg's conviction should have carried harsher punishment, but arson law in this country has not caught up to the current conditions in this part of the country.
To relate this back to the topic at hand, Gregg's sentence was lighter than it should have been, and if Nocket's sentence is based partially of the precedent of the Gregg case, Nocket will also receive a sentence that is too light. In my opinion, Gregg's sentence should've been 20 years, the maximum for a non-deadly arson. Of course, the Nocket case is much different from an arson. No way she even gets 10 years, and probably won't even do time.
The Nocket case I think delves into a realm probably not considered in our country's laws to a great degree. Our National Parks are part of the national legacy of this country. Defacing our National Parks is an attack on the image of the country, somewhat similar to burning an American flag. I think that's a good starting point for Nocket's sentence. Burning an American flag has a maximum sentence of one year in prison. Following his line of punishment, and using the maximum punishment, I think Nocket should get a year for each painting she defiled upon a National Park. There are of course other nuances of the crime, such as restitution for cleaning of the vandalism, but I suppose this post is already quite long so I won't delve any further. Hopefully I've made some clear and reasonable points here.