Tougher Arson Penalties Reinstated in California

September 22, 2014

California has reinstated tougher penalties for aggravated arson just as authorities charge a Northern California man with setting a fire that has burned nearly 120 square miles of timber in the mountains east of Sacramento.

SB930 by Republican Sen. Tom Berryhill of Modesto takes effect immediately after Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing it Friday.

The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office says the tougher penalties will not apply to Wayne Allen Huntsman even if he is convicted. That’s because the King Fire burning west of Lake Tahoe started before the bill became law.

The previous law expired in January. The renewed law allows for prison terms of 10 years to life if arson damage exceeds $7 million.

Authorities say the fire is costing $5 million a day to fight.

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