Violence

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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Which of the nouns in the headline caught your attention? If you are a student at Tulane Law School, I’m sure it was the murderer part.

Most of you have probably never heard of Charles Russell, but he was a professor at the Community College of Rhode Island who was murdered in 1992. His attacker served 12 years in prison and admits his guilt.

The man who killed Professor Russell is named Bruce Reilly. After serving his time, Reilly turned his life around and became an advocate for criminal rights and prisoners’ rights. He worked for a group called DARE – Direct Action for Rights and Equality. He is respected by colleagues. He has testified before the Rhode Island statehouse with the credibility of an expert. He wrote an award-winning screenplay. And after a lot of work, he was accepted into the Tulane Law School for the class of 2014.

Does that sound like an amazing success story about a guy who has turned his life around? Well, you haven’t heard Tulane Law students tell it.

Continue reading for statements from Tulane’s dean, Tulane Law students, friends of Bruce Reilly, and Bruce Reilly himself….

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* With yesterday’s decision from Pennsylvania, the game is now tied for Obamacare at the federal district court level. Come on, SCOTUS, just grant someone certiorari already. [Bloomberg]

* Keep this in mind if you’re applying to law school this year: if you’re white, it ain’t aight. Who knew that there could be “anti-white bias” in a place where everyone’s white, like Wisconsin? [National Law Journal]

* Mark McCombs, the ex-Greenberg Traurig partner who overbilled for prestige, was sentenced to six years. Not a good way to thank your town for naming a street after you. [Am Law Daily]

* An Indian restaurant is accused of forcing Indian customers to give 18% tips. Here’s a tip: don’t punch customers in the face, and maybe they’ll give you a tip on their own. [New York Daily News]

* No soup (or supplements) for you! Curtis Allgier, a Utah prisoner awaiting his murder trial, wants seconds during dinner so he can get back to his fighting killing weight. [Boston Globe]

Image via Getty

Yesterday, we (and every other media outlet) ran our solemn 9/11 remembrance post. In general, I thought the media handled the day fine. I thought the NFL handled it in an unseemly “Are we not RESPECTFUL” fashion, and don’t even get me started on the companies who used 9/11 to push their products. I thought it was assumed that most companies were against global terrorism but until the Budweiser Clydesdales bowed, I wasn’t sure. I guess I should be happy that they didn’t have the Miller High Life guy busting into a cave and taking away a case of non-alcoholic beer from a terrorist.

In any event, today will be the predictable day where the media now takes a closer look at the aftermath of 9/11. And by “closer look,” I mean “report on everything that’s gone horribly wrong since 9/11.”

Gawker already got that ball rolling. I’ve got a really heartwarming story from a law firm that I want to share before I “take a closer look” at the week after 9/11….

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Today marks the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Throughout today, people have been looking back and reflecting on the tragic events of 9/11, as well as remembering and praying for the thousands who perished on that day.

Scanning the Twitter and Facebook feeds of my friends, I’ve seen competing impulses. Most people’s posts have been somber and sad. Some have taken the opportunity to reaffirm America’s greatness; others have used the occasion to criticize U.S. foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. Now that the day is coming to an end, some have expressed 9/11 fatigue.

If you have 9/11 fatigue, you can stop reading here. But if not, please continue….

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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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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….

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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….

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