Crime

Mark Madoff, R.I.P.

Mark Madoff, the oldest of Bernard Madoff’s two sons, committed suicide on Saturday, by hanging himself in his Manhattan apartment. Saturday was a significant day: the second anniversary of Bernie Madoff’s arrest for running a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme.

Mark Madoff’s lawyer, prominent Paul Weiss partner Martin Flumenbaum, issued a statement yesterday: “Mark Madoff took his own life today. This is a terrible and unnecessary tragedy…. [Mark Madoff was] an innocent victim of his father’s monstrous crime who succumbed to two years of unrelenting pressure from false accusations and innuendo.”

Flumenbaum wasn’t the only powerful Paul Weiss personage named “Martin” with involvement in this case. Mark Madoff’s body was actually found by legendary litigator Martin London, a longtime partner at the firm who is now of counsel at PW.

As noted on his Paul Weiss website bio, “[t]he gamut of Mr. London’s successes is vast.” But his experience is primarily on the civil side, with occasional forays into white-collar criminal work. His docket generally doesn’t include violence and death; he’s not the kind of lawyer who sees dead people (e.g., a homicide prosecutor).

So how did Marty London come to find Mark Madoff’s body?

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Columbia Professor David Epstein

We know that part of the appeal of Ivy League schools is the incestuous nature of the high-end job market. People like to hire their own, and if successful Ivy League graduates prefer to work with or mentor fellow Ivy League alums, then the whole Ivy system becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

See, it’s fun to talk about “incest” when you are using the word to make a creative intellectual analogy. It’s much less fun to use the word incest when you are talking about… incest. Revoltingly, David Epstein, a political science professor at Columbia University who also occasionally teaches legal seminars, has been accused of having a consensual sexual relationship with his 24-year-old daughter. According to the New York Daily News, Epstein has been charged with a single count of felony incest.

Epstein is (or perhaps “was”) popular with his students. He was also a news commentator and occasional blogger on the Huffington Post.

I’m find myself wishing he was accused of having inappropriate sex with one of his college-aged students, or using an escort service, or having sex with donkeys, or something other than allegedly doing it with his daughter. Because that’s just a gross perversion of nature.

And now I have to make jokes about it….

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When we last discussed Kumari Fulbright, the Arizona beauty queen and law student turned felon, we mentioned that she was going to be sentenced in early 2011 for her role in the kidnapping and torture of her ex-boyfriend. Well, it looks like Christmas came early for Kumari — her sentencing hearing took place yesterday.

Fulbright was sentenced to two years in prison and six years of probation. She also has to pay $15,000 in restitution. The sentence itself wasn’t a surprise, since it was consistent with the plea agreement we previously mentioned.

Far more shocking was the truly hideous hairstyle that Kumari sported at sentencing….

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Does Polly wanna cracker -- or to be a witness to a crime?

I overuse the words “horrifying” and “terrifying.” Most people do, but I blog, so I probably do it more than most.

But this right here, this is truly horrifying. This is something out of the movie Seven. I’m going to have nightmares over this. And now, so will you.

Let’s check out the allegations….

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What should a law student do when somebody steals his lunch? Lunch thieves are notoriously hungry; they have no shame when it comes to satisfying their need for other people’s food. And they are sneaky little people, always ready to take your well-prepared sandwich within minutes (or, you know, hours and hours) after you leave it in a communal refrigerator.

So what can law students do against such reckless hate? At Michigan Law, two years ago, the victim of this dastardly crime took to the student listserve and proceeded to excoriate the anonymous person who stole his lunch.

At Boston University Law School, the victim decided against hiding behind a computer screen. Instead he left a note, a really angry note, promising immediate punishment to the lunch thief — by his hand or the hands of fate…

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This is a truly innovative approach to helping at-risk children. This is a truly sad commentary on the state of our society. This is a great way to introduce children to the concept of having a lawyer. I can’t believe we need to explain to children why they need a lawyer. This is a tale of a comic book, and it is truly the best thing I’ve seen that is so terrible.

The ABA Journal has a fascinating feature about a four-page comic book called: I Got Arrested, Now What. It was created as a final project for the Youth Justice Board, a program run by the Center for Court Innovation in New York City. The board is comprised of public school high school students from the City.

One of the students on the board explained the need for this comic book:

“All of us came in with the mindset that we wanted to change something in New York City,” says Khaair, a senior at Francis Lewis High School in Queens who didn’t want his last name published. “I feel like the youth of New York City don’t have representation—and we really need a voice, especially for the stuff that involves us.”

And since this is New York City, the “stuff” that our youths need guidance on is what to do when they get arrested. You simply must check out this comic book…

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We’ve covered in loving detail the alleged misadventures of Judge Jack Camp (N.D. Ga.). As you may recall, Judge Camp is the Atlanta federal judge who stands accused of purchasing and enjoying illegal drugs. And purchasing — and presumably enjoying — illegal sex, from an exotic dancer named Sherry Ann Ramos.

Last month, Judge Camp’s attorney stated that His Honor planned to plead not guilty. The possibility of seeing Judge Camp back in the courtroom, but maybe in an orange jumpsuit rather than a black robe, got us all excited.

But it now appears that the judge has had a change of heart. Much to the dismay of trial-seeking AUSAs around the country, defendants plead, they always plead….

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This morning, the Senate had a TSA oversight hearing to discuss serious issues around secure air travel, notably the use of see-through-your-clothes scanners and aggressive “crotchal area” patdowns. A highlight was the TSA head offering any of the senators that wanted one a sample patdown to experience it for themselves. No happy ending guaranteed.

For the patdowns and scanners, that is. “There must be a way to figure out how to do what’s necessary… and for the privacy concern to be addressed because it’s legitimate,” said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in her opening remarks.

Frequent flyers are increasingly annoyed with their air travel experiences, whether they’re being scanned, felt up, paying for extra bags, or having their flights delayed or canceled. One U.K. man turned to Twitter in January to vent his frustration when his visit to a lady friend in Ireland was thwarted by a snowstorm. Paul Chambers tweeted, “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh*t together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”

The British sense of humor tends to be dry. Chambers’s was too dry for the courts there. He was convicted of being a menace and ordered to pay $4,800 in costs and fines. When his appeal was denied last week, it caused an explosion on Twitter. And those protest tweets will soon be turned over to police…

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About once every two months, someone sends us an email asking, “Whatever happened to Kumari Fulbright?” Well, now we have an update.

In case you don’t recall, Kumari Fulbright was a Texas high school cheerleader, Arizona beauty queen, and second-year law student at the University of Arizona — until she was accused of participating in a plot to kidnap an ex-boyfriend, which put a crimp in her legal studies.

Last week, Fulbright took the stand — not in a moot court or mock trial competition, but in the criminal trial of her co-conspirator, Robert Ergonis. And it seems that Fulbright’s testimony, despite its occasional evasiveness, was effective. On Tuesday, the jury convicted Ergonis of kidnapping, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (a gun), assault, and armed robbery.

Fulbright’s testimony against Ergonis was made pursuant to a plea agreement, which provides for her to receive a two-year prison sentence. She will be officially sentenced in early 2011 — and is stuck in jail until then.

Kumari cut a colorful figure on the witness stand….

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Casual Encounters of the Unwanted Kind

The people whose stories wind up in ATL’s pages aren’t always psyched to be here. Long-time readers may remember my getting punk’d by a Boston law school student upset about his email flame war with a female lawyer going viral.

The law student placed my photo and cell phone number in a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad on a Sunday afternoon. I always appreciate people setting me up on dates, but not like that. My phone was unusable for an hour due to incoming calls and text messages.

Some urged me to press harassment charges afterward, but I let it go, dismissing it as a stupid, though somewhat amusing, prank. A Massachusetts woman was not as easily amused forgiving as was I. After being pranked in the same way, she went to the police. And the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Docket reports that a judge determined that fake Craigslist Casual Encounters promising sexy times can lead to criminal charges. One less non-criminal way you can punk a partner for keeping you at the office late…
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