Prisons

* California is cutting prisons. That’s step one. Step two is to shuttle all the prisoners to Los Angeles. Step three involves a series of earthquakes… [McClatchy]

* Private equity billionaire Stephen Schwarzman isn’t into 50 Shades of Grey (affiliate link). But David Lat apparently is. I dunno, if you are going to bother with that kind of stuff, you might as well hit Brazzers and get it over with. [Dealbreaker]

* I’m all for making sure that the Violence Against Women reauthorization prevents violence against women, not annoyances against women, or criticism against women. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Speaking of violence against women, I never blame the victim, but dating gun-toting dumbasses rarely helps matters. [Legal Blog Watch]

* @chrisdanzig: Stop bullying Obama @realjonlovitz. Leave him alone. Leave Obama alone! [Huffington Post]

* What do Vladimir Putin and former Dewey partner John Altorelli allegedly share in common? Are you sure you want to know? [New York Post]

Oh, I remember the first time somebody threatened to throw me in jail because I didn’t pay a debt. I was young and stupid, but not ignorant and fearful. I said, “Debtor’s prisons were outlawed!” (I didn’t know that from law school, I knew that from AP History.) The debt collector stammered and said, “Well, we can still get you in trouble.” Since I was already “in trouble” what with $150,000 in principal outstanding, I instructed the collector to contact me via mail and hung up.

Debt collectors are like bullies: punch them in the mouth, and well, they don’t “go away,” but they stop getting all up in your face.

Eventually, a summons came in the mail, and I responded, and yada yada, I’m still not in jail. The key is that “I responded.” I’ve made a lot of mistakes with my debts over the years, but I haven’t made a lot of mistakes with “courts.” See, courts matter. Debt collectors with hard-ons do not.

Keep that in mind as your read this story about a cancer survivor who got thrown in jail after failing to pay a medical debt that she didn’t even actually owe….

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The Supreme Court handed down a new ruling today, taking a controversial stance in a (literally) sensitive area. The decision should make would-be criminals across the country wince.

In a split decision (is there any other kind these days?), the justices decided that law enforcement is justified in strip-searching anyone, for any offense, before admitting them to jail.

Understandably, a lot of people are butthurt about the 5–4 ruling…

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What is this, I don't even...

* It looks like the Biglaw buzzwords for 2012 are “challenge” and “uncertainty.” Good! Great! Grand! Wonderful! Speaking of uncertainty, where are the spring bonuses? [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]

* Kodak got the go-ahead for a $950M bankruptcy financing deal. Just think, if you had taken pictures using a film camera instead of a digital one, we probably wouldn’t be telling you about this. [Bloomberg]

* Rod Blagojevich will report to prison for his 14-year sentence on March 15, and he hopes to do so with “dignity” (i.e., no cameras). But you can be damn sure he’ll have his hair did, just in case. [Chicago Tribune]

* To be fair, the University of Maryland School of Law doesn’t really have time to worry about that parking job. The university might have to pay up to $500K in legal fees thanks to a lawsuit filed by the school’s environmental law clinic. [National Law Journal]

* Duncan Law’s got 99 problems, and another lawsuit is one. In addition to the school’s troubles with the ABA, a law student is suing because the school “negligently allowed her to enroll.” [Knoxville News Sentinel]

* George Seward, the founding partner of Seward & Kissel, has died at the age of 101. RIP. [Businessweek]

Stephen McDaniel

This should not come as a great shock, since he’s been in jail since July, but Stephen Mark McDaniel has been indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Lauren Giddings. McDaniel and Giddings graduated earlier this year from Mercer Law School, where they were classmates, and they were also neighbors in the Barristers Hall apartment complex in Macon, Georgia.

In addition to being charged with the Giddings murder, McDaniel has been indicted for other creepy crimes….

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* Pennsylvania may have new child abuse reporting requirements by the year’s end. Apparently the key to efficiency in state government is to sully the reputation of the state’s pride and joy. [CNN]

* “There is always room for a good law school, regardless of the climate.” Say hello to Peter C. Alexander, the founding dean at the Indiana Tech law school that nobody wants. [Journal Gazette]

* The hunt for the remains of Mercer Law grad Lauren Giddings is playing out like an episode of Scooby Doo. Will the gang be able to investigate at Old Man Jenkins’s Browning’s farm? [Macon Telegraph]

* A paralegal-cum-prisoner is suing over his soy-based diet, saying it’s cruel and unusual punishment. He’s doing life for child sexual battery, so I say bring on the soy! [New York Times]

* Lat once said that lawyers are like cockroaches: you can’t kill them. Probably why this lawyer bugged out when he saw his creepy-crawly brethren on an AirTran flight. [New York Daily News]

Leah Ward Sears

* Leah Ward Sears, who shows up on SCOTUS shortlists, wants to impose a mandatory waiting period… on divorces. It’d be interesting to live in a country where you had to wait for a year to get rid of your spouse, but not to buy a gun. [Slate]

* Speaking of marriage…. Tara Reid was maybe engaged to an accountant? [Going Concern]

* Trust me, nobody buys off your ATL bloggers. Without us disclosing it. Because it’s not a bribe if you like money and don’t care who knows about it. [Gawker]

* The study doesn’t say that fat people are more likely to miss work; it says that unhealthy people are more likely to miss work. That’s why I discriminate against thin little stress balls that have a conniption every time they see a slice of chocolate cake. [Business Insider]

* Wait, we have a prison rape elimination act? Did we only just now decide that prison rape should be stopped? But it doesn’t apply to everybody in prisons? I’m so confused. [ACLU: Blog of Rights]

* At least Ken Jennings isn’t going to law school. [Ken Jennings]

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….

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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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