May 24, 2019

Slain FSU Law Professor mourned as police investigate


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Dan-MarkelFrom The National Law Journal

Legal educators were left reeling at the shooting death of University College of Law professor .

Markel, 41, died Saturday after being shot in his Tallahassee home the previous day. Police were investigating the death as a homicide, but said they did not suspect robbery as a motive. They had no suspect in custody as of Monday afternoon.

“There is no evidence this was a random act,” the police said in a written statement. “Neighborhood residents should continue to be vigilant but it appears at this time that Mr. Markel was the intended victim in this incident.”

“He was an outstanding teacher and extraordinary scholar and colleague,” the law school said in a statement. “His contributions to the law school and broader legal community were pervasive and lasting. will be deeply missed but his memory will live on in our community.”

Markel was well known outside the community largely for his work on PrawfsBlawg—a popular blog he founded that brings together 11 law professors plus a rotating group of contributors to discuss the law and legal education. His most recent post, on July 16, centered on a federal judge’s ruling striking down California’s death penalty.

“All of us here on PrawfsBlawg live in different places and come from different backgrounds,” the 10 remaining primary authors wrote in a joint posting. “What we have in common, with many others, is Dan. His network of friends and loved ones—and he had a great deal of love for all his many friends, as we did and do for him—is enormous. His boundless energy was at the center of this community; it made it run, it gave it life. We are stunned and bereaved by his loss, and our thoughts go to his two little boys, who were precious to him, and to his family.”

Legal educators and former students took to the blog’s comment section to share their grief. Asaf Sarno, a Florida State law graduate, wrote that Markel was devoted to his students.

“I truly savored every seminar, every class, every discussion and every office visit I had with him,” Sarno wrote. “He was a true intellectual who had a unique way of explaining difficult legal concepts to future lawyers. Moreover, he cared deeply for his students, even after they graduated.”

Markel, a native of Toronto who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2001, taught at Florida State since 2005. He specialized in criminal law and procedure and tort theory.

A memorial service was held in Tallahassee on Sunday, and the law school plans an additional memorial gathering in the fall.

The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported on Sunday that Markel was in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife, Wendi Adelson, a clinical professor at the law school. The couple have two children.

The Toronto Star reported that Markel had told friends he was happy in a new relationship.

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