Deaths

sadomasochism s&m s and m sadist masochist dungeon Above the Law blog.jpgSince we started off today on a somewhat sordid note, we might as well keep going down the same path. From the AP:

Adrian Exley was wrapped tightly in heavy plastic, then bound with duct tape. A leather hood was put over his head with a thin plastic straw inserted so that he could breathe, and he was shut up in a closet.

That, apparently, was the way Exley liked it. But the way it ended — with Exley suffocating — was not what he had in mind when he traveled from Britain for a bondage session with a man he had met through a sadomasochism Web site.

Exley’s body was discovered in the woods last year, two months after he was bound up in the bondage “playroom” Gary LeBlanc had built in the basement of his suburban Boston home.

LeBlanc, a 48-year-old Gulf Oil sales executive, detailed his responsibility in the fatal bondage session in a five-page suicide note, just before he put a gun to his head and killed himself.

Now the question is: Since Exley consented to the sex play, can LeBlanc be held responsible for his death?

LeBlanc committed suicide, but the issue still matters:

Exley’s family is suing LeBlanc’s estate for unspecified damages, claiming wrongful death. Many bondage enthusiasts are watching the case closely, seeing it as a lesson in where to draw the line of responsibility on consensual but dangerous sex.

Additional sensational and salacious details appear in the full article.
Moral of the story: If you’re into this sort of thing, before doing anything, make sure your partner signs a waiver, assumption of risk, and release of liability form. Then transmit an executed copy to a third party prior to the liaison, so there’s contemporaneous documentation. Good luck.
Deadly consent: Bondage death raises legal issues [AP via CNN]
S&M for Beginners [Tango]

Al Gore Albert Gore Above the Law blog.jpg* Al Gore, law school dropout, wins Nobel Peace Prize. [WSJ Law Blog; Washington Post; New York Times]
* Houston crime lab drops the ball, again. [CNN]
* Iraqi families sue Blackwater in U.S. court. [CNN]
* Lithwick’s take on the interesting SCOTUS case, Medellin v. Texas. [Slate]
* McCartney-Mills divorce settlement could break records. [MSNBC]
* After typo, infants in Arkansas can’t not be allowed to marry. [CNN]

A standoff between police and a gunman holed up in an Alexandria, Louisiana law office ended this morning with the police shooting and killing the man. During the standoff he shot five people, two of which died. From the New York Times:

Roy identified one of the dead as Joey Giordano, son of attorney Camille Giordano, who was shot but not killed. The other person killed was Marty Fields, a postal worker who was delivering mail to the law firm when he walked in on the shootings, Roy said.

The (Alexandria) Town Talk newspaper reported that Camille Giordano, bloodied and in boxer shorts, emerged from the building after police arrived and was taken to a hospital. A call to a hospital spokeswoman was not immediately returned.

The Rapides Regional Medical Center identified the other victims as Sam Giordano, an attorney, and Andrea Fletcher Price, the law firm’s secretary.

Sam Giordano, 49, was in serious condition, and Price, 27, was in fair condition, said Courtney Michiels, a hospital spokeswoman.

The law firm involved is The Law Offices of Giordano & Giordano. The motive is unclear, but if this is another case of a disgruntled client taking it out on his attorneys, it is the continuation of a disturbing trend. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the families of those killed.
Police Shoot Man at Louisiana Office [New York Times]
Camille Giordano [LSBA Member Directory]
Sam Giordano [LSBA Member Directory]

Fourth Circuit 4th Circuit US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.jpgThe Honorable H. Emory Widener, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, passed away yesterday morning. From the Bristol Herald Courier:

Judge H. Emory Widener, 83, died at his Abingdon home around 11 a.m. Wednesday, according to court personnel in Bristol Virginia….

Widener began his law career in the Navy, then opened a private practice in Bristol in 1953. Ten years later, he was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

President Richard Nixon appointed Widener to the 4th Circuit in 1972, and he reached senior status in July, Schrinel said.

A source notes:

I was sad to hear that Judge Widener passed away. They literally worked that man to death. I’ve heard that the other judges on the Fourth Circuit basically begged him to stay active until Bush could find a replacement… He complied — but a replacement was never confirmed.

The Fourth Circuit is now operating at two-thirds capacity. It has 15 judgeships and five vacancies. For more detailed discussion of the state of the court — long regarded as a conservative bastion, but now up for grabs — see this article, published when Judge Widener took senior status in July.
A 4th Circuit Court of Appeals judge from Abingdon, Va., died on Wednesday [Bristol Herald Courier]
Judge H. Emory Widener Jr. steps down as active member of 4th Circuit [The Daily Record]

Taser 2 lawyers taser client Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpgIt seems that the family of this woman may have a stronger cause of action than Andrew Meyer:

A Clay County woman’s family said it’s seeking justice after their loved one died shortly after being shocked 10 times with Taser guns during a confrontation with police.

The family of 56-year-old Emily Delafield said it would take the Green Cove Springs Police Department to court, according to a WJXT-TV report….

Family attorney Rick Alexander said Delafield’s death could have been prevented and that there are four things that jump out at him about the case.

“One, she’s in a wheelchair. Two, she’s schizophrenic. Three, they’re using a Taser on a person that’s in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes,” Alexander said.

That may have been a bit much.
Wheelchair-Bound Woman Dies After Being Shocked With Taser 10 Times [Local6.com via Drudge]
Earlier: Sadly, John Kerry Wasn’t Tasered (But He Could Have Used the Electricity)

yale law school.jpgAs promised, here’s an update on the recent, sudden passing of a first-year student at Yale Law School. From the Yale Daily News (which we alerted to the story):

A first-year Yale Law School student was found dead in his apartment Thursday night.

“From what we know at this point, we only have reason to believe he died of natural cases [sic],” Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh said in an address to the entire law school community Friday afternoon. “We need to draw on our sense of community.”

More details — although not many more, since right now so much is unknown — appear in Andrew Mangino’s article.
Our condolences go out to the family of this student and to the Yale Law School community.
Update (9/15, 2:30 PM): Additional information appears in this YDN article, as well as in this Facebook group.
Law student found dead in apartment [Yale Daily News]
Joseph Hanzich LAW ’10 found dead in apartment Thursday [Yale Daily News]
For Joey Hanzich, In Memory and Love [Facebook]
Earlier: Breaking: Yale Law School First-Year Found Dead
What’s Up At Yale Law School?

yale law school.jpgA first-year student at Yale Law School was found dead in his apartment last night.
You read it here first; the story is developing. More details to appear in this space; refresh your browser for the latest updates.
Update (12:40 PM): We just got off the phone with Bliss Bernarda in Yale’s Office of Public Affairs. She confirmed that a Yale Law School student has died but said the university does not have further comment at this time. We provided her with our contact information, and we will let you know if and when the school issues a statement.
Update (1:05 PM): We are hearing that the death may not have been violent (as some people appear to be assuming) — that he may have died of natural causes. But we don’t have confirmation or details.
Further updates appear after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Breaking: Yale Law School First-Year Found Dead”

Miami courthouse David W Dyer federal courthouse Above the Law blog.jpgAs noted yesterday, we’re smack in the middle of clerkship hiring season. Perhaps some of you are applying to judges based in Miami. Clerking in a tropical paradise — what’s not to like?
Possibly deadly toxic mold, that’s what. From an article by Julie Kay in the Daily Business Review (via SDFLA Blog):

Two studies performed at the historic David W. Dyer federal courthouse in downtown Miami show there are significant mold and air safety issues at one of Miami-Dade County’s oldest courthouses and suggest parts of the building are beyond repair.

The studies… were commissioned by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida after U.S. Magistrate Judge Ted Klein became ill and died last year of a mysterious respiratory illness, and his fellow magistrate judges raised concerns about the building’s environment.

Additional discussion appears after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “ATL Public Service Announcement: Avoid the David W. Dyer Federal Courthouse”

* Um, let me get this straight: a U.S. judge is holding a hearing about whether France will comply with the Geneva Conventions? [BBC]
* Don’t be fooled by the arbitration award that she got; she’s still Jenny from the block. [AP via Fulton County Daily Report]
* Haditha officers sanctioned, but not criminals. [CNN]
* The Law Blog follows through on its whip count promise with a quiz. [WSJ Law Blog]
* And here are the answers (60 lawyers, if you want to cut to the chase). [WSJ Law Blog]

* Morgue employee having too much fun costs Hamilton County $8 million. [CNN]
* Nacchio gets appeal bond. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Told ya. [Jurist]
* Parents apparently signed their kids away to a New Mexico entertainment sweatshop. [New York Times]
* It’ll be blowing up our mountains when it comes. [New York Times]

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