Death

Mmm… so peaceful…

In a stunning attempt to redefine the concept of “imminent,” a leaked white paper from the Department of Justice outlines circumstances where America can assassinate terrorists, Americans living abroad, pretty much anybody important enough that the President wants to have him killed.

Oh, you think I’m engaging in a bit of hyperbole? Read the 16-page white paper for yourself. You’ll think Brutus and Cassius wrote it before stabbing Caesar.

According to the paper, the U.S. can undertake “self-defense” assassinations without any evidence of an actual specific threat…

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I write about law school debt, often and passionately, because at the end of the day there are real productive people who are getting ruined by taking out more money than they can reasonably pay back. Not all of these people are “deadbeats,” and not all of these people are too stupid to understand a loan agreement. Many of them are people who simply thought that in America education was the path to upward mobility.

But unfortunately, in America today, education is also the path towards financial instability, or even disaster. People who take the shot at bettering themselves through education can easily find themselves with bad jobs and a mountain of debt that will take decades to pay off.

It’s not just happening to kids. The New York Times had a big article yesterday that highlighted all of the parents who have taken loans out for their children’s education and now can’t pay off the loans. And since we’re talking about parents, we’re dealing with people who maybe don’t have decades to get their financial houses back in order.

In one shocking case, a man took his own life; in the suicide note, he said: “I can’t even answer the phone in my own home no more. I can’t live like this no more.”…

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Chief Judge KOZINSKI, disagreeing with everyone….

– The introductory line to Chief Judge Alex Kozinski’s recent separate opinion in Garfias-Rodriguez v. Holder (9th Cir. Oct. 19, 2012). As noted by the WSJ Law Blog, the other opinions of the highly fragmented en banc court had more traditional designations, like “concurrence” and “dissent.” Howard Bashman was amused.

(Additional news out of the Ninth Circuit, of a serious and sad nature, after the jump.)

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Quote of the Day: What’s the Bluebook Parenthetical for That?”

* Bank of America agreed to pay $2.43 billion, one of the biggest securities class-action settlements in history, to put the Merrill Lynch mess behind it. According to Professors Peter Henning and Steven Davidoff, B of A “is probably quite happy with the settlement given that it could have potentially faced billions of dollars more in liability in the case.” [DealBook / New York Times]

* “Oyez! Oyez! All persons having business before the Honorable, the Supreme Court of the United States, are admonished to draw near and give their attention, for the Court is now sitting.” Here is Robert Barnes’s take on the SCOTUS Term that starts today. [Washington Post]

* And here is Professor Garrett Epps’s review of Jeffrey Toobin’s new book on the Supreme Court, The Oath (affiliate link). [New York Times]

* How Dewey justify paying a big bonus to a member of the management team “when it has been widely pointed out that excessive compensation to the firm’s upper management significantly contributed to the firm’s collapse in the first place?” [Bankruptcy Beat via WSJ Law Blog]

* A high-profile Vatican trial raises these questions: “‘Did the butler do it?’ Or rather, ‘was it only the butler who did it?’” [Christian Science Monitor]

* Ben Ogden, an Allen & Overy associate who was killed in a Nepalese plane crash, R.I.P. [Am Law Daily]

Maybe law schools should be more like strip clubs?

There’s been an interesting lawsuit filed in Florida. The father of a woman killed by an allegedly drunk driving law student (who also died in the crash) is suing the driver’s law school for allowing the kid to get liquored up at the school’s “Barrister’s Ball.”

We’ve done a fair amount of stories about drunken shenanigans taking place at these Barrister’s Balls (or law school proms) at law schools across the country. It really makes for a perfect Above the Law story: take booze, add law students, mix with camera phones, and the thing writes itself.

But usually people don’t end up dead. The only thing a Barrister’s Ball is supposed to kill is your Google footprint. Then again, usually there isn’t a (cough, cough) intervening cause between the Ball and the ride home…

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Last week, we told you that not much seemed to happen during the administration of the New York bar exam. In truth, in New York (and New Jersey), shenanigans usually don’t start until after the state boards of law examiners get their hands on the exams.

Still, things did seem quiet in the tri-state area this bar season. They were more dead than the proverbial curious cat.

But if we move upstate to Albany, there was an actual dead cat. Or perhaps we should say “horrifically murdered” cat? Try not to eat lunch (or take a bar exam) directly after reading this story…

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She didn’t apologize. She started laughing. I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.

– Indianapolis resident John Gross, who says an Orlando TSA agent opened the jar containing his grandfather’s ashes — in violation of the TSA’s official policies — and spilled it on the airport floor.

Stephen McDaniel

Yesterday brought bad news for Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. His lawyers’ request for a reconsideration of his bond, originally set at $850,000 by Chief Judge S. Phillip Brown, got denied.

One of McDaniel’s lawyers, Franklin J. Hogue, argued that the bond was “excessive,” claiming that the McDaniel family couldn’t afford more than $150,000. The prosecution countered that the family’s financial picture might have changed since the passing of McDaniel’s grandfather, Hollis Browning, back in April. According to Floyd Buford, another lawyer working for McDaniel, Browning’s will remains to be executed. In the end, the judge left bail as is — meaning McDaniel will remain in jail for the foreseeable future.

Now let’s hear the good news for the defendant. It relates to that disturbing internet posting that the prosecution attributed to Hacksaw McDaniel back in April….

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We’ve aimed for even-handedness in our coverage of Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. We’ve written about the lurid allegations against him, and we’ve shared with you the reminiscences of a former roommate who found McDaniel a bit creepy. But we’ve also raised the possibility that some of the evidence against him might be fake, and we’ve even discussed whether perhaps McDaniel has been framed for the Giddings murder.

In our continuing quest to tell both sides of this story, today we bring you supportive words from a college classmate and friend of Stephen McDaniel. This individual believes that McDaniel is being treated unfairly in the court of public opinion — and he’d like to set the record straight….

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There hasn’t been much to report in recent weeks concerning the prosecution of Stephen M. McDaniel, the 25-year-old Mercer Law School alumnus accused of killing his neighbor and classmate, Lauren Giddings. There has been some continued wrangling over bail, as well as talk of possible civil litigation brought by the estate of Lauren Giddings against Boni and Marty Bush, owners of the Barristers Hall apartment complex where Giddings and McDaniel once lived.

So there isn’t much hard news to report about Stephen McDaniel. In the meantime, let’s take a more personal look at the man behind the headlines.

Last week, I interviewed McDaniel’s college roommate, who described what it was like to live with McDaniel. We had a very interesting conversation….

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