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.

Book Review: Ready Player One


I’m on vacation and hadn’t planned on blogging again until I got home, but I need to share Ready Player One. I first read about it on boing boing around the time it was released. After a short wait on my reading list, I downloaded it.

I started reading it yesterday evening after we got back from vacation activities and kept going until 3 A.M. It broke my heart to put it down, but I needed some sleep. So when we got back to the hotel this evening, I picked it up and didn’t put it down again until I finished it.

Continue reading

And the storm rages on

Hurricane Katrina came and went almost six years ago, but the litigation it spawned is nowhere near complete. And more surprisingly, there are new Katrina-related lawsuits still being filed daily.

In Louisiana, many lawsuits are subject to one year liberative prescription. What that means, effectively, is that after an accident or storm or other event that damages a person, that person has one year to bring a lawsuit to make him whole, either against the person who did him harm or against his insurer or both. Normally, if the person doesn’t bring his lawsuit within the one-year window, he can never bring it.

But after Katrina, the legislature extended the normal prescriptive period because of the huge number of insurance claims and the general disorder left in the storm’s wake. The legislature extended the deadline from August 29, 2006, to September 1, 2007, unless a longer period was provided by law or contract.

But a recent Louisiana Supreme Court decision has effectively extended that deadline indefinitely. Continue reading

Book Review: Typography for Lawyers

Full disclosure: I’m a design nerd. I love good design. Good design — whether it’s in the shape of my Macbook Pro or in the syntax of the Ruby programming language — makes me happy. I notice it, and I’m willing to pay for.

In the opening pages of his exceptional book, Typography for Lawyers, Matthew Butterick reminds us that every producer — especially lawyers — should pay attention to his product’s design. But what do lawyers produce? Documents. Lots and lots of documents. But many lawyers don’t even know they should be thinking about document layout and design. Typography for Lawyers is where those lawyers should start. Continue reading

HTTPS Everywhere by the EFF

Recently, the Electronic Frontier Foundation released the 1.0 version of its Firefox extension, HTTPS Everywhere.

HTTPS Everywhere makes Firefox use the SSL-encrypted version of certain websites automatically. It works in the background to redirect your regular HTTP traffic to HTTPS if it’s available. So, for example, when you click a link on that someone sent you, the extension automatically rewrites your request to connect to the encrypted version of the site instead.

Sadly, the extension only protects you when the websites you access support HTTPS. But it’s a great start for secure web browsing.