Police

Before we get to the meat of this story, let’s quickly state the obvious: if you plan to commit a violent crime, you probably should not post details about it on Facebook or Craigslist. If you simply must tell the Interwebs of your devious agenda, it’s probably best to close the incriminating window ASAP, so visitors to your home do not see it on your the PC in your living room.

Glad we got that out of the way. Today, we have another fun dumb criminal story for you. It even comes complete with a thought-provoking judicial ruling. Did you know that if a police officer simply moves a computer mouse or presses a key to wake a computer up from sleep mode, that it constitutes a Fourth Amendment search? Well, neither did a Wisconsin police officer who was investigating a man who allegedly threatened to shoot up a shopping mall (gavel bang: Legal Blog Watch).

More on the case, US v. Michael Musgrove, plus Musgrove’s, original thug life Craigslist posting after the jump….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “You Want to Click That Mouse? Bite Me, Get a Warrant!”

* Looks like you really screwed the Cooch. Virginia and its Obamacare challenge got slapped around today by the Fourth Circuit. [Blog of Legal Times]

* Just how rich are the members of SCOTUS? When you’re worth $45M, like RBG, you can afford to fall asleep during the State of the Union address. But you can’t afford such luxuries when you’re still Sonia from the block. [Forbes]

* An interesting read on the Kenneth Moreno case from the perspective of a juror. Buy it on your Kindle and check it on the way home today. [Gothamist]

* What is law school’s dirty little secret? If you have social skills, you don’t need to be in the top ten percent to get a job. Fair warning, because your mileage may vary with this bit of advice. [Law Riot]

* If Texas A&M is actually allowed to join the SEC, fans are going to have to learn how to start talking smack about the Big 12 and buy a pair of jorts stat. [ESPN]

* What a Masshole: sorry, lady, but if seeing your criminal history in print is too upsetting, maybe a career change is in order? No judge is just going to stop the presses for you. [Salem News]

* “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here! Thou art cash cows being led to the $laughter!” Well, if you’re going to riff on my school, at least get your facts straight. We cry in our cars. [LOLawyer]

* No, you cannot change your name to NJWeedman.com. We get it, you smoke two joints before you smoke two joints. But if you lose the domain, your stoner friends would be confused. [Gawker]

Long before I became a law blogger, I spent a good chunk of time working as a photojournalist. Periodically, I wound up photographing the police. Whether it was at an arrest at a football game, or an officer who suffered an unusual injury, officers rarely hassled me because I usually had a press pass and a big, professional-looking camera.

But anyone can film in public spaces. One of the most important — and overlooked — technological developments of the last five-odd years is the ease with which anyone can record police doing their jobs and throw the video on YouTube. The technology can be a great deterrent against police misconduct.

So it’s really, seriously disturbing when police try to intimidate witnesses into turning off their cellphone cameras. It’s even more nauseating when someone gets arrested for simply filming police activity. Luckily, a recent decision from First Circuit unambiguously told police to cut it out.

Keep reading for details about the man who was arrested for taping police in America’s oldest public park, as well as Judge Kermit Lipez’s benchslap of the officers who made the arrest….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “First Circuit Has No Sympathy For Cops Who Say, ‘Don’t Tape Me, Bro!’”


Daniel Watkins: cleared of all charges.

Back in May, around the time of the Johnathan Perkins craziness at UVA Law School, we wrote about stalking and assault charges leveled against another UVA law student (and friend of Perkins), Daniel Paul Watkins. An ex-girlfriend and female classmate claimed that Daniel Watkins assaulted and threatened her.

At the time, we quoted a friend of Watkins who counseled caution in reacting to the charges. This source stated that “there is another side to the story, which has yet to surface,” and that observers should “keep an open mind” and “not pass judgment too quickly.”

As it turns out, these words were prescient. A judge just dismissed all of the charges against Daniel P. Watkins….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “UVA Law Student Cleared of Assault and Stalking Charges”

Would you want this man as your roommate?

The cast of characters in the criminal case against Stephen Mark McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings, continues to grow. Last week, the existing players — the wild-haired defendant, his super-religious mother, the good ol’ boy defense lawyer, the handsome handyman, the 58-year-old law student — were joined by a fellow with the improbable name of Thaddeus Money. Who happens to be a financial advisor, amazingly enough.

Thad Money, a former roommate of Stephen McDaniel, came to public attention last week when his name was mentioned at McDaniel’s magistrate court hearing. In building their case against McDaniel, Macon police are relying in part on Money’s recollections of the defendant.

After the hearing, Thaddeus Money gave an interview to the Macon Telegraph. Let’s learn more about this young man, and hear what he has to say about his ex-roomie….

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Glenda McDaniel and Mark McDaniel, parents of Stephen McDaniel, arriving at court this morning.

Bad news keeps on coming for Stephen Mark McDaniel, 25, the recent Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing Lauren Giddings, his former neighbor and classmate. This morning a judge found probable cause in the murder case against McDaniel, which will now be bound over to Bibb County Superior Court. The judge also denied bail to Stephen McDaniel, who has been in Bibb County jail since July 1 (on unrelated burglary charges; he also faces kiddie porn charges).

We were fortunate enough to have a reader at this morning’s hearing. Let’s hear what this roving reporter has to say….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Probable Cause Found Against Stephen McDaniel in Lauren Giddings Murder Case”

Stephen McDaniel

It seems that Stephen Mark McDaniel just can’t catch a break. First the recent Mercer Law School graduate gets accused of murdering his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. Then he’s hit with lurid charges of child pornography possession. He has been in Bibb County jail for almost two months, and the incarceration has been taking its toll on him.

And now, according to the Macon Telegraph, Stephen McDaniel is being fingered as the author of some exceedingly creepy postings to internet message boards. If the claims of his authorship are true, they will definitely not help his case.

We’ve called the postings “chilling” and “creepy,” but you don’t have to take our word for it. Check them out for yourself….

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Stephen McDaniel

Things just got a lot more complicated for Stephen McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing his former neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. As we mentioned last night, McDaniel has been hit with seven charges of sexual exploitation of children.

So even if McDaniel is cleared of the Giddings murder, he’s still looking at a whole host of other allegations. As you may recall, what originally landed him in the Bibb County jail were two counts of burglary (namely, filching condoms from other apartments at the Barristers Hall complex). Now he stands accused of child pornography possession, facing possible exposure of five to 20 years in prison on each charge.

At the time we originally mentioned the kiddie porn charges yesterday, we didn’t have the dirty details. Now we do.

If you have the stomach for it, keep on reading….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Hacksaw McDaniel Accused of Child Pornography Possession”

Lauren Giddings

It has been a few weeks since we last wrote at length about the investigation into the murder of Lauren Giddings. As you may recall, Giddings was a recent graduate of Mercer Law School whose decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia.

A former neighbor and classmate of Giddings, Stephen M. McDaniel, 25, has been charged with her murder. McDaniel is being held at the Bibb County jail, where he has been for several weeks.

There have been a few recent developments in the case — nothing major, but still worth noting….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Lauren Giddings Murder Investigation: Some Updates”

You'll get in less trouble if you accidently shoot the one on the right.

I’m about to tell you a story. If the story included Chicago PD shooting an innocent black man who posed no threat to them, the story would end in an acquittal, vindication for the officers, and an outraged black community starting a charity fund for his widow.

But this story involves CPD shooting an innocent black Labrador Retriever. A family pet who posed no real threat to the officers. As such, the police have been punished and roundly excoriated, and a federal jury awarded the family a huge sum for damages.

Which is fine. I mean, I agree with the jury’s decision. I just don’t like living in a world where shooting my dog is a bigger liability risk for a police officer than shooting me….

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