Next month we’ll be speaking on a panel at a conference for Asian American law students and lawyers. It’s taking place at the University of Pennsylvania and being sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) at U. Penn. Details and registration info appear here.
Asian law students. In Philly. Will there be a metal detector at the door?
In the past three years, two Asian law students in Philadelphia have gotten into trouble with the law due to gun-related incidents. First there was Joseph Cho, at the time a 2L at U. Penn., who shot up the door of his neighbors’ apartment in January 2007. Earlier this month, Gerald Ung (pictured), in his final year at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, allegedly shot Edward DiDonato Jr., a recent college graduate and the son of a partner at Fox Rothschild. (See prior posts here and here.)
Today we have updates on both cases.
With respect to Gerald Ung, in an ATL reader poll, about two-thirds of you expressed the view that Ung’s actions were justified. (This surprised us a little — we support the Second Amendment, although we personally find guns mean and scary — but we respect your opinion.)
Perhaps law enforcement authorities feel the same way as ATL readers; they don’t seem to be treating the case with any particular urgency or seriousness. Ung was released on 10 percent of $200,000 bail, which doesn’t seem very high for a defendant charged with attempted murder and six other offenses.
In addition, his case isn’t moving very quickly. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
A Philadelphia judge yesterday set April 16 for a preliminary hearing for Gerald Ung, the Temple University law student charged with shooting and wounding a Villanova University graduate early Jan. 17 in Old City. Municipal Court Judge Wendy L. Pew granted the continuance during a brief status hearing at the Criminal Justice Center in Center City.
We know how you guys like original court documents. Check out the case docket — or, if four pages is TLDR (“Too Long Didn’t Read”), check out the one-page case summary. These docs basically reflect what we’ve discussed above — the continuance of the preliminary hearing, Ung’s bail status, etc. — but some of you might be interested in getting down into the weeds of the case (such as the specific statutes cited in the seven charges against Ung).
As for Gerald Ung’s status as a law student at Temple, which we asked about before, we have no new information. JoAnne Epps, dean of the Beasley School of Law, referred our inquiry to the university media relations department. A Temple University spokesperson declined to comment on the Gerald Ung situation, citing “federal privacy laws.”
On the medical front, there is some bad news: Edward DiDonato, the man allegedly shot by Ung, was recently downgraded back to critical condition, according to PhillyLacrosse.com. (He had attained fair condition on Friday, but returned to critical condition after additional surgery on Sunday.)
Meanwhile, the other Asian Philly law student shooter, Joseph Cho — think Gerald Ung, but with a higher LSAT score — was sentenced last week. How much time did he get?
As you may recall, Cho didn’t shoot any people. He just riddled his neighbors’ apartment door with bullets, three years ago. From the Daily Pennsylvanian:
Police said Cho, who is Korean, believed the neighbors — two male Drexel University students — were spies because they were Indian and studying biomedical engineering.
Indian biomedical engineering students = spies. Logical reasoning FAIL.
Joseph Cho was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison, followed by 20 years of probation, according to the Philadelphia Daily News. His mental illness, while taken into account at sentencing, did not give him a free pass:
Assistant District Attorney Melissa M. Francis said Cho was held responsible for his actions because, while he has mental-health issues, he is not legally insane. She had asked the judge to incarcerate him for eight to 20 years, but after the hearing said that the shorter sentence was appropriate.
Cho, she said, had no prior criminal record. “I think it was a fair sentence considering his background and mental-health diagnosis. I think the judge handled this very well,” the prosecutor said.
Five to ten years in prison doesn’t sound fun. Then again, some say the same about five to ten years in Biglaw.
The Changing Legal Landscape [Penn APALSA]
Hearing set for Temple student in Old City shooting [Philadelphia Inquirer]
DiDonato’s condition stabilizes after being moved back into Intensive Care; is downgraded to critical [PhillyLacrosse.com]
Ex-Penn law student gets 5-10 years in shooting incident [Philadelphia Daily News]
Cho receives 5-10 year sentence [Daily Pennsylvanian]
DiDonato’s former teammate: ‘It’s pretty incredible how lucky and strong he’s been the past couple of days’ [PhillyLacrosse.com]
Earlier: The Temple Law Student Shooter: Questions Abound
Temple Third-Year Law Student Suspected in Shooting
What’s Going on at Penn Law?