Many Arizonians still remember the Crown King fire in June 2008, which burned 9,629 acres of forest land and caused the evacuation of all residents of the town of Crown King. The Yuma Sun reported that the cost of fighting the fire was $5.7 million.
Now, the 52-year-old man that was seen as responsible for the start of the fire was sentenced on Monday to five years of supervised probation and 150 hours of community service for his conviction of leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished. The defendant David Alexander Cygan was also convicted of unauthorized possession of a badge belonging to the National Park Service.
David Cygan claimed that he started a fire for warmth when he became lost in the forest and said that he thought they had extinguished the fire completely when he had left. Authorities, however, say that the man had made no attempt to put the fire out. He was carrying a National Park Service with him at the time of the 2008 incident, but was reportedly fired from the National Park Service in 2007 and was no longer authorized to possess the badge.
Probation is the suspension of a jail sentence that gives convicted criminals a chance to remain in the community, instead of going to jail. Most Phoenix criminal lawyers will argue for probation instead of jail time for their clients. However, FindLaw states that probation is not simply a get out of jail free card and that there are usually specific terms that must be followed with a probation sentence. If a person violates their terms of probation, then he or she might be required to attend a probation violation hearing. At a probation violation hearing a judge can order additional probation terms, heavy fines, a revoked probation, jail time, or other punishments.
- Probation Violation (FindLaw)
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- Sentencing Alternatives: Prison, Probation, Fines, and Community Service (FindLaw)