Friday, February 13, 2009

No One Will Be Prosecuted for Starting Tea Fire

Santa Barbara District Attorney Christie Stanley announced this afternoon that there is insufficient evidence, to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, who is responsible for starting the Tea Fire.

Although no one will be charged criminally for starting the fire itself, Stanley did announce that misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass and unlawfully building a campfire will be filed and prosecuted by the DA's office.

The press release in which Stanley's decision was announced addressed the issue of why, despite public clamor, the names of the individuals who were suspected to be involved in starting the fire had not been released. Stanley states that the sole reason "was to protect the integrity of the investigation so as not to compromise or possibly taint sources of information or the ability to corroborate information."

In other words, the purpose of withholding the names was not to shield the individuals from public scrutiny.

The press release does not include the names of the individuals who were investigated. Presumably those names will become known once the misdemeanor charges are filed.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and