State v. Servello (2000)

In State v. Servello, 59 Conn. App. 362, 372, 757 A.2d 36, cert. denied, 254 Conn. 940, 761 A.2d 764 (2000), which involved arson for hire, the defendant had been found guilty after a jury trial of the crime of attempt to commit arson in the second degree in violation of 53a-49 (a) (1) and 53a-112 (a) (2). 59 Conn. App. at 364. On appeal, the defendant claimed that the evidence was insufficient to support his conviction because his actions amounted a mere solicitation and, thus, pursuant to Schleifer, could not constitute a substantial step toward the commission of the crime of attempt to commit arson. 59 Conn. App. at 368-75. In rejecting the defendant's claim, this court in Servello analyzed the legislative history of 53a-112 and concluded that it "was adopted to confront the problem of fires set to defraud insurance companies or those hiring persons to set such fires . . . and made it a crime to hire another person to set a fire." 59 Conn. App. at 373. The Court further stated that "it is . . . presumed that when the Legislature acts in a particular area, it does so with knowledge of and regard to the prior state of the law, including relevant decisions . . . . It is presumed to know the existing state of the case law in those areas in which it is legislating . . . to be cognizant of judicial decisions relevant to the subject matter of a statute . . . and to know the state of existing relevant law when it enacts a statute. . . . It is thus unlikely that the proscription of arson for 'hire' under the amendment to 53a-112 in Public Acts 1982, No. 82-290 effected no corresponding change to the standard for attempted arson as stated in State v. Schleifer." 59 Conn. App. at 374.