Crime

D. Marvin Jones

Back in 2007, Professor D. Marvin Jones of the University of Miami School of Law was hit with a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a prostitute. We found it interesting that a criminal procedure professor was charged with, well, violating the criminal law. We bestowed Lawyer of the Day honors upon Professor Jones.

This did not sit well with Professor Jones, who sued us in November 2009. After his complaint received widespread criticism, however, he voluntarily dismissed his lawsuit.

Well, it seems that Professor Jones is back. Multiple University of Miami law school sources have alerted us to a new charge against him….

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Ed. note: This post was written by Matt Levine, the new editor on our sister site, Dealbreaker, and Elie Mystal.

Matt here. You might think that Dealbreaker HQ exists only metaphorically in virtual space, or maybe in the fan fiction you’re hiding in your desk, but in fact Bess and I share a real physical garrett both with our sibling sites Fashionista and Above the Law. Occasionally we even talk to each other. “Talk,” in this context, normally means that Above the Law editor Elie Mystal shouts at us about some outrageous political position. In order to quiet him down a bit, we’ve decided to take it to the internet, thus spawning the first – and maybe last! – Above the Law / Dealbreaker Debate Society.

I have been set the task of defending a proposition like “white-collar criminals should not get anything near the jail time they get.” (We are pretty casual with our resolutions here at the Breaking Media Debate Society.)

Fortunately I believe that, so here goes…

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The other pics for bipolar disorder were more freaky.

Back when only recent college graduates went to law school, you didn’t have to worry much about law students sneaking into law schools with extensive criminal records. How much trouble can you really get into when you were busy performing well in college, earning a useless liberal arts degree?

But in our day and age, there are enough law schools hanging around that pretty much anybody can get in. Barriers to entry are pretty much at the level where as long as you can fill out a loan application, you can get into law school. Heck, as we reported recently, convicted murderers can get into law school.

But you have to tell the truth. You can get into law school with a criminal record, but you have to tell your law school the truth about your record.

Apparently, telling the truth is a problem that some people are having….

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Judge Wayne Phillips: He likes clerk butt and he cannot lie?

When I learned about this lawsuit out of Montana (via Morning Docket), I thought it might be from The Onion or an old episode of Ally McBeal. Reports the Billings Gazette: “A lawsuit has been filed against Fergus County District Court Judge E. Wayne Phillips by a female law clerk who alleges that the judge slapped her in the buttocks with a legal file.”

If the clerk’s allegation is true, was Judge Phillips’s action inappropriate? Certainly. Was it rude? Most definitely. But should it spawn a civil lawsuit, as well as possible criminal charges? Absolutely not.

And wait until you hear what the clerk is claiming in damages….

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* Police suspect that a client may have been the one to plant a bomb in attorney Erik G. Chappell’s car. Stay far away from family law, folks. [New York Daily News]

* “How come there’s not a school where people can go if they want to become trial lawyers?” How come you don’t know we already have 200 other law schools? [National Law Journal]

* I hope they signed a prenup, because AT&T and T-Mobile have added two more firms to their huge Biglaw wedding party — O’Melveny and Kellogg Huber. [Am Law Daily]

* “A lawsuit has been filed . . . by a female law clerk who alleges that [a] judge slapped her in the buttocks with a legal file.” And Lat wonders why law clerks hate their jobs. [Billings Gazette]

* LiLo may be behind on her court-ordered service hours, but surely she should be credited for the community service of wearing low-cut tops. [New York Post]

* Ninth Circuit Judge Pamela Rymer, RIP. [San Francisco Chronicle]

We live in a country where some states have the death penalty. Capital punishment. The “ultimate justice,” people like Rick Perry say with a smirk, as if justice that ends in death is somehow preferable to justice that respects the dignity of human life.

Do you not know what those sanitized words mean? Do you not know what the death penalty is?

We live in a country that sanctions murder of supposed criminals. That’s what we’re talking about: murder. It’s not “self-defense.” Death row inmates are locked down, strapped down, and would be in jail for the rest of their natural lives but for our societal decision to kill them first.

And the people we kill, we suppose they are criminals. We have a system that spits out a verdict that a person is guilty. It’s a flawed, imperfect system. In any given case, witnesses, counsel, judges, or the jury could be wrong, stupid, or both. We, as a society, take their word for it because it’s the best way for dispensing justice that we’ve come up with so far.

But since we have this flawed system, and we do kill people, then it is inevitable that occasionally we’re going to murder the “wrong” person. To support the death penalty is to support the occasional murder of innocent people. That’s been true since the first barbarian hunter-gatherer thought it’d be a good idea to gather the whole tribe together to watch the death of another defenseless person who claimed innocence.

So my question is, why the hell are people so worked up over Troy Davis?

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Last week, when we first wrote about Bruce Reilly — the Tulane 1L who committed a murder nearly 20 years ago — we noted that when he outed himself on his website, he posted a t-shirt that read, “F**k Google, ask me.”

It appears that many students at Tulane Law School did just that.

We’ve already heard from the Tulane law students who don’t know Bruce. We’ve heard their concerns and opinions.

Now let’s hear from some of Bruce Reilly’s new friends on campus….

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Jason Smiekel

Last month, federal law enforcement officials accused an Illinois attorney, Jason W. Smiekel, of trying to put a hit out on a former client — who also happened to be the ex-husband of Smiekel’s fiancée. That’s quite an allegation, isn’t it?

And that’s not the end of the story. Some sources blamed this fiancée — a very beautiful woman, described to us by a tipster as a “hot hot hot blonde” (“HHHB”) — for the downfall of Jason Smiekel, ruining his marriage and taking him from a successful career in law to a life outside it. But others came to her defense, describing HHHB and Smiekel as “very much in love, and good people.”

Alas, if they are in love, their love may have to wait, thanks to the latest bad news for Jason Smiekel….

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From what we hear, it’s been a wild couple of days at Tulane Law School, ever since we outed the convicted murderer in their midst. Well, we didn’t out him; Bruce Reilly outed himself, on his blog (in a post that he has since taken down). But being profiled on Above the Law can sometimes stir up the pot.

Or not. As one tipster put it:

Your article on Bruce Reilly has stirred quite the tempest down here at Tulane: A small, mossy cluster of students typically found speed-typing, whispering and tittering in a darkened corner of the library began typing, whispering and tittering even faster! Meanwhile, everyone else went to class.

Yes, we’ve been getting all kinds of reactions from the Tulane community since our original post went up. The story has even gone mainstream. Reilly was profiled in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, and his story was picked up by USA Today and ABC News.

But the mainstream media won’t tell you the details of the actual crime at hand. Our Tulane readers have been asking to know more about the actual murder Reilly served time for. We’ve dug up some of the old reports….

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Professor Stephen Smith

Perhaps this is part of some elaborate research project into the workings of the criminal justice system. Professor Stephen F. Smith, who teaches criminal law and criminal procedure at Notre Dame Law School, stands accused of a serious crime.

According to the South Bend Tribune, Professor Smith faces one count of domestic battery, a class D felony. He’s accused of striking and kicking his wife at their home, in an incident that allegedly took place back in June.

Professor Smith doesn’t fit the profile of the typical defendant in a domestic violence case. How many DV defendants have clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court? How many have graduated from Dartmouth College, where Smith served as a trustee, and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he once taught?

After graduating from Dartmouth and UVA Law, Smith clerked on the D.C. Circuit (for Judge David Sentelle) and SCOTUS (for Justice Clarence Thomas). He practiced at Sidley Austin before joining the UVA Law faculty, where he served as John V. Ray Research Professor before moving to Notre Dame. (Query: What prompted Professor Smith to move from UVA to ND?)

Legal pedigrees don’t get much better than this. But enough of Professor Smith’s dazzling résumé. Let’s learn about the lurid allegations against him — and hear from ND law students about a campus controversy he created….

UPDATE: Please note the updates added to the end of this story. Thanks.

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