Killer Wants to go to Law School

One of Tulane Law School’s brand new 1Ls is a convicted murderer. According to the newspaper reports quoted in the Above the Law comments, Bruce S. Reilly murdered a Rhode Island Community College professor in 1992. He pleaded no contest to second degree murder, admitting to stabbing the professor twenty-four times, beating him with a fireplace poker, and smashing his head in with a statue. Then he ran off with the late professor’s stereo, credit cards, and 1988 Ford Tempo.

Police got a break in the murder investigation when an informant reported that Reilly had been bragging about the murder. After pleading, Reilly was sentenced to twenty years in prison and was released on parole after twelve.

Now he’s out, and he’s attending Tulane Law School on scholarship. How do the people who applied to Tulane and were rejected feel now that they know who they lost out to? And why would Tulane bother admitting him? J.D.s are refused admission to the bar for misdemeanor DUIs and minor drug convictions all the time; Reilly has no hope of practicing law anywhere. Is it a publicity stunt?

Whatever the school’s reasoning, it’s offensive that Tulane wasted the seat and a scholarship on someone who’ll never practice law. Reilly is a prisoner’s rights advocate. The school should have passed on him and admitted a student with similar interests but less stabby hobbies. That student could have made a difference with his J.D.

The silver lining here, of course, is that Tulane is adopting a progressive, more lenient stance on crime. This is what one of the Deans said after a student stole Mr. Rogers’s shoe a while back:

I’m afraid I cannot overemphasize the gravity of this incident. It appears that one of the students of this Law School committed theft, a serious crime. It is also a violation of the Tulane University Code of Student Conduct. Moreover, what was stolen was of very high value. . . . I hope it is obvious that being under suspicion or arrested in connection with this incident would have the most serious negative implications for your future career as a lawyer.

Thank god Reilly only killed someone to steal his Ford Tempo and not something of very high value. Otherwise, it might have had negative implications for his future legal career.

At least he’s not a gunner.