Crime, Education / Schools, Facebook, Law Schools, Politics, Social Media, Social Networking Websites, Technology

Law Student Of The Day: Alleged Social-Media Hoaxer

Do you ‘Like’ weird stories? Keep reading.

It’s a bizarre tale. Here’s what happened, according to law enforcement allegations.

On a Facebook page called UW Crushes, where University of Wyoming students could post anonymous, flirtatious notes to one another, the following posting appeared: “I want to hatef**k Meg Lanker Simons so hard. That chick runs her liberal mouth all the time and doesn’t care who knows it. I think its so hot and makes me angry. One night with me and shes gonna be a good Republican b**ch.”

The post attracted national attention — and outrage. A rally against “rape culture” took place at UW. University officials condemned the incident and launched an investigation.

Then things got… weird. After conducting an investigation, police came to the conclusion that the “hatef**k” posting was written by none other than Lanker-Simons herself. Lanker-Simons got charged with a misdemeanor count of interfering with a peace officer, arising out of her alleged obstruction of the investigation. According to the Laramie Boomerang, Lanker-Simons will plead “no contest” very soon.

And now the story has a connection to the legal profession: the alleged hoax artist is going to law school. Because of course she’s going to law school. Legal education is, after all, a popular option among murderers, bank robbers, perpetrators of hate crimes, and other colorful characters.

So where is she enrolled? Might she be your classmate?

According to the Laramie Boomerang, Lanker-Simons is “now attending law school in a western state.” According to the Daily Caller — which has provided extensive and enthusiastic coverage of the disgraced Lanker-Simons, perhaps due to her status an award-winning liberal blogger and outspoken left-wing activist — that western law school is Gonzaga University School of Law:

Lanker-Simons — who seems to have changed her name (again) to Meg Simons — maintains a Tumblr blog called Cognitive Dissonance. While the cat-filled blog is coy about her whereabouts, it does suggest that she has recently moved to the western state of Washington — home to three law schools.

On August 21, 2013, the day before Lanker-Simons added an entry discussing 1L orientation, she posted an image on the Tumblr blog on August 21, 2013 with the caption “Oh my God” which appears to show the Gonzaga University School of Law.

U.S. News currently ranks Gonzaga #113 on its list of the best law schools. There are 203 ABA-approved law schools across the nation.

We reached out to Meg Lanker-Simons to ask about her possible plea deal, her going to Gonzaga, and what prompted her to perpetrate the alleged hoax. Was it a well-intentioned but imperfectly executed effort to bring attention to important issues, or a work of performance art, or just a simple error in judgment? Alas, through her lawyer, Charles F. Pelkey of Neubauer Pelkey & Goldfinger LLP, she declined to comment. Perhaps she’ll speak more freely once the plea deal is finalized.

Gonzaga Law School was a little more forthcoming. Here is what the school’s spokesperson told us:

Gonzaga Law does not as a matter of course comment on student’s personal legal or disciplinary matters. Generally, we strive to provide an opportunity for legal education that focuses on cura personalis – care for the entire person. It is our belief that those who have made mistakes in the past, as many of us have, should be allowed the opportunity to move on and become a contributing member of society.

Meghan Lanker-Simons

Setting snark aside, I agree with Gonzaga. In our digital age, in which it’s harder than ever to escape a scandalous past, it’s more important than ever that we forgive each other for indiscretions. As someone who, years ago, got into trouble for engaging in the same conduct that Lanker-Simons stands accused of — namely, adopting a false identity on the internet — I can relate to her situation.

And I believe she deserves a second chance. The experiences of criminals turned law students like Bruce Reilly and Shon Hopwood, who are pursuing law degrees so they can advance social justice, demonstrate the redemptive power of legal education and how it can be a force for good in people’s lives.

Best of luck to Meghan Lanker-Simons as she pursues her legal education. If she brings her interesting experiences into the classroom (and leaves her Glock at home), Gonzaga Law and its students will be enriched by her presence.

P.S. The Daily Caller and Instapundit flag the issue of character-and-fitness review, in the event that Meg Lanker-Simons applies to for admission to a state bar after graduation. Readers have raised this question before regarding other law students with colorful pasts.

It does seem somewhat risky to invest time and money in a law degree if you don’t know whether you’ll be able to practice in the end. Does any state bar issue “advisory opinions” on such matters, so that a prospective law student can get a rough sense, before she puts down a deposit, whether or not something in her past might preclude her from practicing law? Feel free to enlighten us.

Wyoming ‘hate-f***’ hoaxer adds to checkered criminal past, now attends law school
[Daily Caller via Instapundit]
Wyo. student who threatened to rape self on Facebook was convicted of assault [Daily Caller]
Plea deal coming in UW Crushes case [Laramie Boomerang]
The Web Means the End of Forgetting [New York Times]
Mystery of Gossipy Blog on the Judiciary Is Solved [New York Times]

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