Crime

Stephen McDaniel cleans up nicely for court.

Stephen M. McDaniel, the Mercer Law School graduate accused of killing classmate Lauren Giddings, made an appearance in court this morning. As you may recall, Giddings’s decapitated torso was found on June 30 in Macon, Georgia, and thus far, police have been unable to recover the rest of her body.

Last month, we mentioned that Bibb County prosecutors intended to seek the death penalty for McDaniel. Today, in court, the alleged murderer received formal notification of his fate if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him.

McDaniel’s arraignment hearing has been set for February 7, but his lawyers raised some interesting issues today. What sort of motions will they be filing on their client’s behalf?

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I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I have to arrest you.

It has already been a big week for legal technology. Yesterday, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in United States v. Jones. The case dealt with emerging fourth amendment and privacy issues now that law enforcement have increasingly advanced technological abilities.

Well, law enforcement in the city of East Orange, New Jersey have also embraced technology in the fight against crime. Unlike law enforcement in Washington D.C., however, East Orange’s brilliant new plan involves shining a remotely controlled red light at would-be criminals.

Below the jump we have video footage of Hal this cool, new, swiveling stoplight….

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Perhaps this is something that you’ve noticed: women who are newly engaged tend to brag about the way their fiancé proposed to them. And whether the proposal was bland or spectacular, it’s all these women seem to want to talk about.

So, what happens when you’ve got two criminal cases pending against you, and your boyfriend is just dying to pop the question? What happens when that same boyfriend has an order of protection against you due to allegations of domestic violence? Is that the kind of backstory you’d want to tell all your friends before spilling the beans on how your fiancé asked for your hand in marriage?

Apparently, the answer to the last question is “yes,” because this unlucky couple’s engagement tale was published in the local paper for all the world to see….

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“Oh, What a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive,” said Judge Guy Anthony, quoting Sir Walter Scott’s poem Marmion, as he sentenced British Biglaw attorney Francis Bridgeman to 12 months in prison on Friday. The former Allen & Overy (A&O) and Macfarlanes partner, who had already had his membership of the latter firm’s limited liability partnership terminated, then collapsed in the dock.

Until recently, Bridgeman, 43, was just another hotshot Biglaw equity partner enjoying a millionaire’s life-style. Educated at Oxford University, he joined Magic Circle firm A&O in the early 1990s and rose through the ranks so quickly that he made partner in 2000, aged just 32. Having got married, he bought a big house in the countryside outside London and became a governor at a local school. Three years ago, he capitalised on his success by moving to boutique financial law firm Macfarlanes, where profit per equity partner is still high for U.K. standards (last year it came in at £752,000) but the hours and stress are generally considered less than at the likes of A&O.

Then, on April 6 2010, everything changed for Bridgeman, in the most unexpected and surreal way….

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Here at Above the Law, we realize that we sometimes sound like broken records. We’re constantly bemoaning the casualties of the student loan industry, blaming law schools for preying upon poor, innocent, and financially inexperienced law students.

But at some point, there comes a time when we’ve got to stop defending law students when they make incredibly irresponsible financial decisions. Sometimes, we’ve really got to wonder: how can people be so dense? Simply put, it’s because they’re law students.

Case in point: kids at a D.C. metro-area school recently fell victim to a scam that wasn’t perpetrated by their law school, but instead, by an alleged law student whose sob story sounded just like a Sally Struthers commercial….

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Do NOT go in there.

Well, you don’t see this every day. “This” meaning a substantive legal debate over the privacy implications of watching porn inside an adult video store.

The stimulating (hem hem) opinion comes (why does everything suddenly sound so dirty?) to us courtesy of the New York County Supreme Court. A man arrested in Times Square for selling narcotics appealed his arrest, saying police who burst in on him (for crying out loud, I can’t stop the puns) conducted an illegal search and seizure.

I should not write this story, because I know it will only encourage more BikeDude commenter jokes, but here goes….

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Robert Ringley

Throughout our coverage of Robert Ringley, the Ave Maria School of Law student accused of attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, many have offered up their comments about the alleged occurrence, and thoughts about law school in general. This comment was perhaps the most fitting of them all:

Law school is a mental illness factory. If you go in healthy, you’ll come out bitter, angry, and depressed. If you go in unhealthy… well, you risk coming out a murderer.

Yesterday, some described Ringley as easygoing, funny, and carefree. But were those traits just used as a cover-up to mask Ringley’s darker side? We’ve got some additional insights on the alleged perpetrator’s state of mind, plus news on his status at Ave Maria Law….

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Robert Ringley

Earlier this week, we brought you news about Robert Christopher Ringley, the second-year student at Ave Maria School of Law who stands accused of shooting at and threatening to kill two of his classmates — Christopher Graves and Samantha Morris — during an alleged drunken bender.

In case you missed our coverage, Ringley has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Prior to his arrest, Ringley allegedly shared his feelings with Morris, his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend, while pacing back and forth with a gun:

“Just tell me you love me. I love you. I can kill myself. I can kill you. It’s simple.”

Creepy and melodramatic. Not a good way to keep a failing relationship intact, bro. So, who is the man who stole Ave Maria’s long-worn shroud of infamy from Andrew Shirvell, former Michigan assistant attorney general and outspoken opponent of homosexuality?

A former classmate has stepped forward to give us all the details….

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Robert Ringley

Law school, copious amounts of alcohol, and unrequited love are the ingredients necessary for a very dangerous cocktail, the effects of which can lead to much more than just a bad hangover.

Just ask Robert Christopher Ringley, a man whom we believe to be a second-year student at the Ave Maria School of Law.

Early Friday morning, Robert Ringley was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly threatening to kill and shooting at two of his Ave Maria Law classmates.

What caused Ringley’s alleged of acts violence, and what’s love got to do with it? Let’s take a closer look at some of the allegations….

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Is peeing on somebody’s dead body a war crime? What about peeing on their grave? What about an important monument? As I’ve spoken about before, one of my life’s goals is to pee in every river that was important to the Confederacy. If I relieve myself in the Chickamauga, can a true son of the Cumberland bring me up in front of a war crimes tribunal?

The video of those American Marines urinating on dead Afghan bodies is so disturbing that it somehow demands a legal response. Mitt Romney might never want to “apologize” for America, but maybe that’s just because he’s used to being able to metaphorically urinate on those hoping some of his wealth trickles down.

And yet — 1Ls, say it with me — “most of international law does not exist.” Aside from whatever punishment the United States Marine Corps wants to impose on these guys, there isn’t a whole lot the international community can do to punish them.

Unless we want to call urinating on somebody a “war crime.” But is punishing some jackasses worth diluting the term?

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