Brian Leiter's Law School Reports

Brian Leiter
University of Chicago Law School

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Memoriam: Dan Markel (1972-2014)

I am very sorry to report the horrible news that Professor Markel, a well-known criminal law scholar and theorist at Florida State, has died, apparently murdered during an attempted robbery of his home in Tallahassee on Friday.  (The details are unclear at this point, I will post more as soon as I know more.)

UPDATE:  This news item confirms that he was shot and died of the gunshot wound.  The circumstances of the shooting and the perpetrator remain unspecified.

ANOTHER:  From what colleagues at FSU tell me, Prof. Markel was murdered after opening the door of his home, though whether as part of a robbery or something else is unclear.  It's just ghastly.

AND ANOTHER:  His colleagues at PrawfsBlog have posted a memorial notice, and the thread is open for remembrances and condolences.

MORE:  Local police have confirmed they are investigating the crime as a homicide, without any mention of robbery, attempted or otherwise.

JULY 21:  Local police now confirm that Prof. Markel's murder was "targetted," not a random act of violence.  I would imagine there are a rather limited number of people with the requisite motive, so we may hope a perpetrator of this heinous crime will be apprehended soon.

ANOTHER UPDATE:  I did not know Dan Markel nearly as well as many others who have written movingly about him (see, e.g., here, and here and here).  We met a couple of times, I knew a bit about his criminal law scholarship, and we corresponded periodically, often about legal academia and "blog stuff."  One thing I always liked about Dan was his forthright manner and his ethical standards, so rare in the blogosphere.  During his years of running the successful Prawfs blog, he was always good about moderating comments and deleting nonsense, and never hesitated to identify, expose and, if necessary, ban cyber-miscreants; he succeeded in making Prawfs a place where a serious, adult discussion could actually sometimes take place in cyberspace!  He was feisty and principled, and admirably so (I felt that way even when I disagreed with the principles!).  In addition to his collegial and scholarly constrributions (to which the many on-line testimonials attest), he also made the "blawgosphere" a better and more interesting place.  Like so many others, I deeply regret his passing and extend my deepest condolences to his colleagues, his family and his many close friends.

AND MORE:  The FSU memorial notice is here.

A FINAL UPDATE:  Based on the latest reports from police, it is clear that Prof. Markel was the victim of a pre-meditated murder.  Who was behind it is still unknown, but I suspect there is quite a lot that is not yet known.

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